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Exquisite, Subtly Tremulous Gorman

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Kristy Gorman's Make Shift exhibition at Jonathan Smart Gallery Kristy Gorman's Make Shift exhibition at Jonathan Smart Gallery Kristy Gorman, Verso VII- X, ink on embossed paper, each 735 x 520 mm framed Kristy Gorman's Make Shift exhibition at Jonathan Smart Gallery Kristy Gorman, Composite I, ink on board, 430 x 310 mm framed Kristy Gorman, Composite II, ink on board, 430 x 310 mm framed Kristy Gorman, Free Form (Green), ink on board, 450 x 300 mm including shelf Kristy Gorman, Free Form (Yellow), ink on board, 430 x 310 mm framed Kristy Gorman, Planar, ink on board, 810 x 610 mm framed Kristy Gorman, Plumb, ink on board, 580 x 430 mm

Gorman's diluted colour creates a slight vibration at its pigmented edge - due to the ink and not the line (if it is possible to separate the two). Sometimes we can just detect a thin added accentuating line underneath; sometimes it is only a consistently nongranular plane; other times they are steeply aligned triangular planes, perspectivally positioned in parallel; on occasion they also slightly ruffled rolling mists - little sandstorms that (as microcosms) tease with tone.

Christchurch

 

Kristy Gorman
Make Shift

 

30 September - 25 October 2014

In this carefully positioned collection of delicate ‘constructivist’ paintings Kristy Gorman continues her exploration of simple geometry, astute placement and veils of ink-induced colour on board, plus the occasional use of ghostly traces through embossing on paper. She demonstrates her nuanced command of shape and position with more confidence than ever - in works that are quite small and intimate. Effortlessly they draw you in. It is hard to break out of their spell and back out.

Gorman’s diluted colour creates a slight vibration at its pigmented edge - due to the ink and not the line (if it is possible to separate the two). Sometimes we can just detect a thin added accentuating line underneath; sometimes it is only a consistently nongranular plane; other times they are steeply aligned triangular planes, perspectivally positioned in parallel; on occasion they also slightly ruffled rolling mists - little sandstorms that tease with tone.

There are two basic sorts of image here in this show: both precise. The embossed paper works (Verso VII-X) you have to move around to check the light raking across the unpigmented surface and the impression’s impact on the overlapping, carefully angled shapes. They are tightly planned: painted shape with surface indentation. There is a hint of Richard Tuttle, seventies Don Peebles, or El Lissitzky - now reduced in miniature. Though presented in a suite they work deliciously individually as meditative designs; fabulous little shapely icons; each tense arrangement an island on a paper sheet.

The other works, the float-mounted board paintings, emphasise each textureless shiny board as a hovering rectangular vertical plane - and are more atmospheric, being fields. Gorman tends to apply shape-focussed pressure around their edges, or suspended across or down their centre.

Although I imagine Gorman could do much larger canvas works with opaque paint - if she so desired - featuring the same compositions, these works are embedded in their own particular scale, colouration, materiality and method. In sensitivity and ‘touch’ they are akin to the works of the great German artist Julius Bissier, but less organic. More pristine.

This is the best show of Kristy Gorman’s I’ve seen. In the past she has sometimes been prone to an excessive preciousness that was slightly twee, but that has now been replaced by a sense of surety: exact positioning mixed with astute restraint that comes from experience and cumulatively acquired knowledge. Wonderful work.

John Hurrell

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