John Hurrell – 22 November, 2012
These works fascinate both individually and collectively. Roche's placement within the Saatchi space exploits reflected colour from various parts of the room, unexpected chromatic flashes that suddenly appear as you move around. His glowing linear forms are often based on spontaneous drawing, violently muscular bodily gestures on paper that relate to his past as a confrontational performance artist.
15 November - 21 December 2012
Peter Roche‘s five new neon works, carefully positioned in Parnell’s Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery illustrate a varied approach to colour, continuity of line, movement, reflected space, vector, and (so characteristic of him, with his performance background) danger. Formal savvy mixed with overt psychological manipulation - a narrative geared up to draw out the anxieties of each viewer.
Outside the gallery door on Level 3, not in darkness but bathed in natural light from a skylight, Untitled rests on the landing, a vented metal filing cabinet welded onto a tea trolley with entangled black sheaths and glass tubes sprouting on top and underneath. Fiery orange squiggles frenetically dart across and around these two flattened birds’ nests, some numbers or letters occasionally detectable as flared forms within the flickering knotted chaos. The sizzling convulsing lines exude menace - as if they’d lash out and fry you if you got too close.
Just inside the door on a dark wall is Blue Pools, a horizontal rectangle supporting an arrangement of eight overlapping oblongs in thick blue lines. The movement here is slow as the lines gently change their tonal value causing them to spatially reorient their position in relation to their companions. Each location shifts to and fro as their back and foregrounds alter, eight wobbly planes jostling in mutating compositions.
Trickle is a four panelled work which plays off pairs of descending rectangles against different shiny and coloured backgrounds. The four sets of out-of-sync falling forms create a rocking seesaw motion, a lurching tumbling sensation that drags your eyes backwards and forwards between the bottom right and top left corners. Some of the reflective panels make the forms blur while the orange lines, of neon gas and encased in clear (unpainted) glass, compared to the white ones are thinner.
Floating Tiki seems to be about drawing the hei-tiki form from memory - three attempts in lime green - though they could be anything, foetuses, chewing gum, whatever you might imagine. The different doodled versions - all static - have individual characteristics involving distinctive gaps between the continuously looping (but almost touching) lines, and different alignments of (if tiki) head and limb parts. The citrus colour could allude to cultural fertility and healthy regeneration.
The last work, Shiver, seems based on an amusing cartoon drawing of a gangly stick figure dancing, wobbling and gyrating its arms, with a stooped curved spine. The three white improvised configurations, all vertical, bending and reflected to create a softer double, have a staccato, strobelike flicker, the lights being rapidly turned off and on at a barely detectable speed. It exudes a nightclub ambience, but one also capable of inducing epilepsy. A calculatedly ambiguous concoction.
These works fascinate both individually and collectively. Roche‘s placement within the Saatchi space exploits reflected colour from various parts of the room, unexpected chromatic flashes that suddenly appear as you move around. His glowing linear forms are often based on spontaneous drawing, violently muscular bodily gestures on paper that relate to his past as a confrontational performance artist. Each of the five works has its own mood and use of motion - or lack of. Each a particular pace, spatial depth, and psychological field.
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GRACE BUTLER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION AWARD AT ARA
3 Month Studio Residency for an Artist with an Association with Canterbury