September 25, 2017

Towel Study 2017
oil on canvas, cotton towel
450 x 350 mm

Property Developments
Oil on canvas
450 x 550 mm

April 29, 2017

from top
Wall Work III 2017
paper and acrylic paint

Whose afraid painting? 2012
oil on canvas

April 3, 2017

Materialised Exhibition

Painting As Object (Once More)

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Fergus Feehily, garden Lux, 2010, carboard box, oil and cloth on mdf, 285 x 235 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettMaterialised, as installed at Two Rooms. Photo: Sam HartnettJohn Nixon, Untitled (AUK), 2014, mixed materials on canvas, 700 x 600 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettSelina Foote, Reading, 2014, oil on silk, 450 x 350 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettMaterialised, as installed at Two Rooms. Photo: Sam HartnettMaterialised, as installed at Two Rooms. Photo: Sam HartnettJudy Darragh, Orange Pool, 2015, acrylic, prism, silicon on linen, 600 x 400 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettRohan Hartley Mills, because/maybe, 2017, acrylic on canvas, wooden dowel and bracket, 670 x 460 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettMaterialised, as installed at Two Rooms. Photo: Sam HartnettNoel Ivanoff, White Crate Painting, 2017, oil on plywood,two parts,each 700 x 297 x 90 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettGlen Snow, Tongue and Groove, 2017, acrylic, builders fill and wood, 370 x 410 mm. Photo: Sam HartnettAT Biltereyst, No 659, 2012, acrylic on plywood, 262 x 190 mm. Private Collection. Photo: Sam HartnettKim Pieters, All Thought Emits a Throw of the Dice, 2013, mixed media on board, 100 x 1750 mm. Courtsy of the artist and Bowerbank Ninow. Photo: Sam Hartnett
Of course the notion of ‘objectness' of contemporary paintings is not remotely new, as any student of Cubism or Constructivism knows, and which is borne out by events like the opening in Christchurch Art Gallery next week of Don Peebles' superb construction reliefs from the sixties. But it is intriguing to see these issues, often discussed by critics like Greenberg in terms of the picture plane, raised again within a new contemporary context.

AT Biltereyst, Judy Darragh, Fergus Feehily, Selina Foote, Rohan Hartley Mills, Noel Ivanoff, John Nixon, Kim Pieters, Glen Snow
Curated by Glen Snow and Rohan Hartley Mills

17 March - 22 April 2017
An exhibition put together to emphasise the painted stretcher or glued on panel as a palpable object (that is looked at, and not through) Materialised is an exciting array of nine unusual works , two of which are from overseas artists in Ireland and Belgium not normally presented in this part of the world. This novelty factor makes them the stars of the show, as their contributions are exemplary, yet really everybody pulls their weight equally. No fizzers anywhere. It’s all consistently good. Very.
Glen Snow contributes a very long, somewhat dry, essay that is out of place in a dealer gallery (non-university) context. Instead generalising about the essays of theoreticians like Isabelle Graw (who looks at painting’s production of signs as an activity that is now ‘medium unspecific’) and Jane Bennett (the intrinsic vitality of materiality) my view is that he should have focussed on the materiality, ‘objectness’, or ‘pictureobjectness’ of the works we see in the space, and what pressed his and Rohan Hartley Mills’ ‘buttons’ when they put this exhibition together - the specific details of each artist’s method that led to their selection. For some of the chosen, like say Kim Pieters, it is not obvious. I think she contradicts the materiality principles with a thin, vaguely rectangular horizontal ‘window’ that , despite its delicate stained and cursive graphite textures, creates an illusory sense of dark blue space far beyond the wall.
Of course the notion of ‘objectness’ of contemporary paintings is not remotely new, as any student of Synthetic Cubism or Constructivism knows, and which is borne out by events like the opening in Christchurch Art Gallery next week of Don Peebles‘ superb construction reliefs from the mid-sixties. But it is intriguing to see these issues, often discussed by critics like Greenberg in terms of the picture plane, raised again within a new contemporary context. (With his chosen writers Snow focuses on artist agency, and indexical or performative aspects to do with the Self, rather than formal properties within materiality).
Both the curators, Mills and Snow, contribute fabulous work. Snow has a gridlike construction of laminated hardboard where different sections have had the outer veneer peeled off, with rubbery flattened blobs of squelchy acrylic and builder’s fill positioned over the front plane and edges. Rohan Hartley Mills has a two piece painting where a small skinny unit hovers above a larger rectangle ostensibly held in position by four pieces of dowel positioned in its corners. The three medium-toned green shapes on the canvases are quite disorienting in terms of lack of alignment and implied, mentally extended edges creeping across the wall. They avoid matching up, and this indifference - a potentially irritating lack of co-ordination - is obviously deliberate; a Godardian or Brechtian strategy of ocular disruption.
Judy Darragh‘s spontaneously created work - using a prism, a wide daub of hot orange, some swirling transparent gel and a bed of milk chocolate texture that shows indentations of bubble wrap - provides a sense of speed and avoidance of extended contemplation within its process. Darragh’s different textures and translucencies work well, and are a clever foil to the silk and oil work by Selina Foote next door along the wall, with its five vertical gaps (in the painted silk) that expose the background wall behind her chopped-up topographic-like contours: cascading diagonal black bars hurtling across the rectangle.
It would be fun to put a selection of John Nixon‘s imposing constructions alongside those of the Don Peebles show that I’ve mentioned. Nixon’s wooden protrusions tend to be centrally dense, and are clustered and diagonal, celebrating an ongoing working process, whereas Peebles’ are more diffuse, cling to a frame, use perpendiculars, and are very cognisant of an intelligent, determinedly curious, moving viewer examining a final end product.
Noel Ivanoff‘s painting/packing case combination - where two functionalities merge - clings to the floor, and is in two parts which are spread far apart. They interact intimately with the architecture, particularly its planar wall or column edges, or vertical/horizontal planar joinings.
AT Biltereyst makes intimate little grid paintings, usually blue on white, that appear to use stencils but which also enjoy showing bleeding ‘accidents’. His designs are compellingly inventive, with lovely negative spaces incorporated, and nice diagonal versus horizontal tensions.
Fergus Feehily‘s pink and green painting nestles inside a folded cardboard pocket so that it is exposed through a central window with a sliver of a top dark edge peeking over the top - the white cardboard here being torn and beautifully battered. The notion of a cardboard mask or screen being incorporated into the work is intriguingly radical, an alternative to overpainting that really does declare this work to be an object.
John Hurrell
Images courtesy of Sam Hartnett

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March 10, 2017

March 11th 2017

Because / Maybe 2017
Oil on canvas, oil on pine, and pine dowel
450 x 370 mm
image courtesy of Sam Hartnett

October 15, 2016

October 16th 2016

From Top
Symphonic Painting 2016
oil on wood, wood frame
335 x 257 mm

Quadraphonic painting 2016
oil on canvas
755 x 615 mm

Painting for Swan Son (Diptych) 2016
oil on canvas
445 x 274

Blue Straws 2016
oil on canvas
755 x 615

Dual Painting (or form the patio) 2016
oil on canvas 452 x 370

II x Over 2016
oil on canvas
755 x 615

September 3, 2016

‘But what picture, or the picture in what sense of the term? The picture as object? As form? The picture as a function—and what function could be fulfilled without context, let alone without a frame? The picture as an activity, which would require a new definition of the operation of painting?’  Hubert Damisch.

Floor Work I 2016
2 mtrs x 1.5 mtrs
Cotton short pile velvet, pine, acrylic paint, hardboard and apple

2016 Finalist for the New Zealand National Contemporary Art Award

August 12, 2016

From the archives

Unmapped Territories, Noisy Disturbance
Wait for Signal
Show at Second Storey Gallery Auckland
April 2012

July 12, 2016

New Strokes at Gallery 9 Sydney

New Strokes group show
Gallery 9 Sydney Australia
Install shots from top
Deco Painting 2015
One way ticket
Group install view
Images courtesy of Gallery 9

July 3, 2016

from top
One way ticket 2016
oil on canvas
420 x 340 mm
Fabric appliqu├ęd No II 2016
410 x 310 mm
Frabic and oil paint on canvas
Painting for a wake 2016
2200 x 1500mm
oil on canvas
Painting for a wake 2016 (detail)

March 16, 2016

Rehearsing Further Abstractions

Grouping these four artists together under the heading of 'Drawing Rehearsals' is to construe the work as functioning, “in the same open ended manner as working drawings”. This is explained in the introduction to the exhibition, and is qualified by their various outcomes not being predetermined, with compositions simply emerging during their processes.

Group show
Drawing Rehearsals

5 February - 5 March 2016

Upstairs Hartley Mills seems to have found a balance between the ecstatic state of Chung and anxiety of Bushby. His is an abstraction that seems to have understood the history of Pop Art within his reinvention of the gesture as somewhat funny and cartoonesque. The title of this show is a perfect fit to the way he thinks about and frames up his art. All works are usually titled as some kind of painting trying something on, or rehearsing a look, such as Painting with BlindersTower PaintingCut PaintingX PaintingDeco Painting. ‘Painting’ is also sometimes substituted for the word ‘study’, as in Curve Study with BlindersBazaar Study, or there is a sculptural object installed as a Drawing Study for Painting, which in this case is his eighth iteration (VIII). Sculpture as a physical drawing, in the service of painting, is a sophisticated and quirkily disruptive use of signifiers. This one made of thick plywood-batons in the shape of the letter pi, rests against the wall in an italicised lean, with dark-blue velvet wrapped around its two ‘stems.’ It is largely unpainted, except for small spots of green over the plugged and filled nail holes, orange on one square-end of the horizontal arm, and pink on the other. Small bands of paint ring the upper and lower ends of the velvet, as if standing-in for rubber bands pretending to hold it in place.
Drawing Study For Painting VIII is not the only sculptural addition to his painterly language. Two pictures, as their names suggest, sport ‘blinders’ like costume accessories. Perhaps, because of a sense of caricature I thought them reminiscent of the ears on animal onesies. Yet these are triangular and rhomboid wooden flaps nailed to the top of each of these paintings. They serve to extend the painting into space, as well as bring our attention to the sides and edges. As they are meant to do on a harnessed horse, these additions suggest containing the train of attention, maintaining focus without distraction and bearing witness to the work’s concentration. The sense of deliberation where the surfaces are marked with only what they need, and nothing more, reveals their critical emergency as painting, and their emergence, in Verwoert’s sense, of a criteria of critically contingent responses. What is impressive is the lightness of touch, despite such considered surfaces.

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