John Hurrell – 13 August, 2015
This is an unusual show, but it really needs background contextual information built into the short essay which, though beautifully poetic, is - in terms of discussion - somewhat vague. There seems to be no cohesive logic except that Snow likes these artists - and that seems to be his point. He doesn't want to fully argue a case - except state that they want to 'act' as artists.
Toby Raine, Ian Peter Weston, Diane Scott
No Remedy, But More
Curated by Glen Snow
4 August - 1 September 2015
Glen Snow is known in Auckland as an unusually inventive painter and (sometimes through this site) a nuanced and highly articulate writer. This show at Godkin’s has him curating a section of work from three Elam friends and colleagues, its title being an evocative ellipsis (subtraction, compression, and the mental substitution of ‘paint’) of a Thoreau line, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”
The three artists (as painters and sculptors) we discover, couldn’t be more varied, but Snow has put them together. Over the last two or three years, their works have been presented in a number of Auckland venues such as Snake Pit, Room and Allpress Gallery - in very different group shows.
Toby Raine‘s four oil portraits stylistically look as if they were inspired by (British painter) Glenn Brown’s flattened interpretations of Frank Auerbach, but much more rawer and rougher. They feature a loose German expressionist manner of paint handling - with lots of quickly applied, straight lines from a thickish brush, meeting at angles. Based initially on photographs of bearded celebrities, they become improvised celebrations of the physicality of paint and canvas, rejecting illusionism. Despite being made with gestural paint, they have a linear graphic quality, like spontaneously drawn cartoons that are not too beholden to source material - but take their focus in another ‘emotional’ direction.
Ian Peter Weston’s paper, string, paint and glue sculptures project out from the walls, sometimes on hinges; strange decorative and flimsy planes that (as firm paper panels) float in the middle of Godkin’s livingroom. Usually his method of construction is a little like that of papier mâché, except the result is not bulky but thin and skinlike, with the glossy planar surface of glued strips undulating and not perfectly flat. These strange patchworks look as if they were made by a mad scientist, a Thomas Demand equivalent of Gyro Gearloose. One work amusingly seems to follow the ornamental rhythms of laid out birthday cakes.
Diane Scott’s paintings on aluminium plates initially seem linked to printmaking with their scratched away lines and intricate shiny surfaces. In this country many painters have used aluminium, including Richard Killeen (opaque paint) and Bill Hammond (transparent), but here Scott’s use of geometry emphasises an industrial and architectural sensibility with their explorations of rendered orthogonal space. Occasionally with some, if you concentrate on the surface of the picture plane (and not look ‘through’ it) they look a little like ceramic tiles, and less metallic.
This is an unusual show, but it really needs background contextual information built into the short essay which, though beautifully poetic, is - in terms of discussion - somewhat vague. There seems to be no cohesive logic except that Snow likes these artists - and that seems to be his point. He doesn’t want to fully argue a case - except state that they want to ‘act’ as artists.
I would argue that the essay is a lost opportunity, for the advantage of take-home blurbs (which incidentally all institutions and dealers should provide) is that curatorial argument and detailed analysis of the methods of contributing individuals can be synthesised. Then it can be absorbed at home when the visitor is relaxed in their own space. Hopefully (after reading and applying engaged, contemplative thought) they might be sufficiently excited that they will want to return and investigate further.
To read a transcript of the panel discussion “Whose Oceania?” held recently in London, and more on NZ arts abroad, CLICK HERE
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