Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

APW

Thinking About Love

AA
View Discussion
Julia Croucher, Eastside 08, varnish, ink and pen on paper, 130 x 100 mm Ana Iti, Phobos, gouache on drafting paper, 420 x 295 mm Ana Iti, Deimos II, gouache on drafting paper, 420 x 295 mm Ana Iti, Deimos I, gouache on drafting paper, 420 x 295 mm Julia Croucher, Eastside 18, varnish, ink and pen on paper, 130 x 100 mm Julia Croucher, Eastside 16, varnish, ink and pen on paper, 130 x 100 mm Julia Croucher, Eastside 05, varnish, ink and pen on paper, 130 x 100 mm  Julia Croucher, 3217, varnish, ink and pen on paper, 390 x 280mm Ed Lust, Agape, acrylic and clear lacquer on canvas, 1220 x 1520 mm

Julia Croucher's postcard-sized miniatures seem to seek out a more abstract expression than previous, more obvious landscapes. There is a great subtlety that pulls you in close to look at the details. The ambiguous divisions of surface and horizon suggest Rothko, but rendered in a brooding monochrome of ink and varnish more suggestive of later McCahon.

Christchurch

 

Julia Croucher, Ana Iti, Ed Lust.
<3

 

11 March -11 April 2014

Following the Christchurch quakes, the dynamic of the city’s exhibition calendar changed dramatically. New spaces like Chambers 241 appeared, or like ABC Gallery, appeared and disappeared. Some overlooked venues which had been showing quality work all along came to greater prominence, and so it was with the gallery space associated with David Trerise’s City Art specialist framing workshop. It goes a long way to show that commercial interests and the arts can go hand in hand without difficulty if handled sensitively.

Graduates of the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts had it particularly tough, especially since the loss of SOFA Gallery in the Arts Centre and the tight programme of Canterbury’s campus gallery, so it is marvellous that we can see the work of three young Canterbury graduates shown together like this - and of course your reviewer is noted for his fondness for painting. The title of the show, <3, is of course the heart emoticon - the show is about love.

Ana Iti’s paintings are highly enjoyable. Under the lights some reflective quality of the gouache gives them a soft luminosity that seems to come from within. There is a delicate play between flat surface and illusory depth. In style they have a retro-futurist quality that rests somewhere between roses after the fashion of 1950s Googie or Populuxe design (certainly they would be comfortable enough on the walls of a chic apartment in The Jetsons) and galaxies filtered through biomorphic abstraction. The Science Fiction element seems supported by the titles; Phobos, and Deimos I and II - named for the two moons of Mars. Curiously the titles can be read as the antithesis of the love theme - literally “Fear” and “Terror” - the two horses pulling the War God’s chariot.

Julia Croucher’s postcard-sized miniatures seem to seek out a more abstract expression than previous, more obvious landscapes. There is a great subtlety that pulls you in close to look at the details. The ambiguous divisions of surface and horizon suggest Rothko, but rendered in a brooding monochrome of ink and varnish more suggestive of later McCahon. This is counterpointed by slightly water-blurred crystalline and geometric, border breaking forms drawn in what appears to be a fine fibre-tipped pen. The blurring brings out the reds and mauves used to make the pen’s commercial black ink.

The abstract horizon recalls the Sublime, and the geometric forms suggest the crystalline forms of Bruno Taut’s fantasy pavilions and the dramatic landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich (perhaps if he had seen the movie Tron), putting them firmly in the Romantic tradition for all their abstraction and gesture.

Ed Lust has only one painting in the exhibition, but it dominates the wall. The title, Agape, unconditional and often divine love, hints at its ambiguous and abstract nature. It is impossible to judge the quality of ideas based on a single work, but the complex and kaleidoscopic centrifugal layering of flat pastel discs and dots have a cumulative effect to those baroque trompe l’oeil ceilings that give the impression of an impossibly high architectural dome dissolving into the infinite vault of heaven. In Agape, however the flamboyant congeries of discs give way from washed out impressionism (like looking up into the sunlight through cherry blossom in a faded Manga strip) to a black abyss between the galaxies.

It’s a tight little show and easy on the eye.

Andrew Paul Wood

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by Andrew Paul Wood

APW
Roy Good - Diamond Matrix at Chambers

Good is Good

Chambers@241

Christchurch

 

Roy Good
Diamond Matrix

 

21 November - 9 December 2017

APW

New Walters Book

Gordon Walters: New Vision

Three essays by exhibition curators, plus five others

Hardback, 240pp, coloured illustrations, 300 x 240 mm

 

Published by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in partnership with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2017

APW
Installation of Len Lye: Stopped Short By Wonder at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. Photo: John Collie.

Lye’s Christchurch Survey

CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY TE PUNA O WAIWHETU

Christchurch

 

Len Lye
Stopped Short By Wonder

 

5 August - 26 November 2017

APW
Cover by Shannon Novak

Jonathan Mané-Wheoki Gedenkschrift

Victoria University Press, 2017

Mark Stocker and Conal McCarthy eds.
Colonial Gothic to Māori Renaissance: Essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

Essays from nineteen contributors