John Hurrell – 8 June, 2018
These works are grey and silvery, but not reflective like most silver is—where tones jump about in high contrast according to the position of the viewer and the light source. The grey chroma is carefully controlled tonally, through repeated sprayings of very diluted polymer. There are lots of cascading dribbles, streaks, and clusters of drips that provide a rich modulated texture.
Gravity System Response
31 May - 17 July 2012
Although this is his first solo exhibition in New Zealand—and an Auckland painting show at that—Australian Ash Keating is remembered in Christchurch for his video installation in SCAPE 6 (2011) and for participating in post-earthquake gallery group shows. In Australia he is widely known for his spectacular wall murals, but here in the main Fox Jensen McCory space he presents four sprayed-on grey monochromes. And four other canvases in the office and annex.
These works are grey and silvery, but not reflective like most silver is—where tones jump about in high contrast according to the position of the viewer and the light source. The grey chroma is carefully controlled tonally, through repeated sprayings of very diluted polymer. There are lots of cascading dribbles, streaks, and clusters of drips that provide a rich modulated texture. Every now and then—in some works—there is a delicate (very faint) wisp of deep blue, a faint smudge that seems to hover disembodied in front of the dribbly grey.
Keating’s gorgeous and nuanced works, made by carefully controlling the direction, spread and distance back of the spray gun nozzle, are particularly striking in the large paintings of two or three panels. Here you become immersed in the wide and tall fields, and the controlled vectors and tonal shifts of their descending drips. They radiate a stable non-reflective light, emphasising emission through the layered veil of vertical streaks—and different depths behind. (The photographs here don’t capture it. You need to experience them face to face — with natural light and no spots.) Because of their association with waterfalls or rainfall, these are landscape paintings of sorts; landscape that is hidden, never seen but always present by suggestion.
Keating orchestrates his cascading rivulets by careful control of tone, compositionally organising his juxtaposed sections of dark and pale grey to dramatic effect. Sometimes the lines of descending paint curve like a swaying curtain. Other times there are also ominous cloudlike blobs of dark and light that look like fluffy patches of wispy steam.
These understated, liquidy, grey canvases are a good move, well away from the hot multi-hued palette of his earlier florid, huge, geyserlike murals which look a little like Katerina Grosse. They are much cooler and classier. More elegant. Works you could easily spend a lot of time with.
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