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JH

Glen Snow at Godkin

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Glen Snow, Prom Queen, 2013-14, acrylic, Builders' Fill, pigment, wood, 280 x 270 mm Glen Snow, Fraganard's Accident, 2013-15, acrylic, Builders' Fill, wood, 22 x 270 mm Glen Snow, Quarter Mass, 2015, acrylic, wood, 565 x 55 mm Glen Snow, Mellow Bearing, 2015, acrylic wood, 178 x 880 mm Glen Snow, Violace, 2015, acrylic wood, 565 x 555 mm Glen Snow, Lobe, 2015, acrylic, wood, 485 x 540 mm Glen Snow, Black Malevich, 2015, acrylic, wood, 610 x 610 mm glen Snow, Bauhaus Baroque, 2015, acrylic, wood, 360 x 355 mm Glen Snow, Glam Gut, 2015, acrylic, wood, 430 x 396 mm Glen Snow, Dandy, 2015, acrylic, wood, 360 x 280 mm

Some oozy works like 'Prom Queen' are fantastic. They are full of spatial and textural surprises and look bizarrely edible, like curly raspberry flavoured crisps: baked but akin to furled, very thin cake icing. They really play on the senses in a very basic way, and are extraordinarily inventive in their joyous unpredictability.

Auckland

 

Glen Snow
Fat yellow

 

21 April - 23 May 2015

Creme tangerine and montelimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert, yes, you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

George Harrison, ‘Savoy Truffle’ (from The Beatles, 1968)

                                 –-

This exhibition of ten paintings at Antoinette Godkin’s continues the method of painting production Glen Snow is known for, but with less gouging of surfaces and use of carpenter’s bog than before. 

The works are slightly larger now, and feature the use of viscous and squirty acrylic paint as a means of gluing together strips of light wood or pieces of hardboard. Lots of acrylic encrustations, fused colourful splodges and reattached peeled skins / thin slabs, prevail. With this kind of inventively squelchy, improvised painting, the resulting artefact is a form of colourful projecting wall relief created to be examined from all sides and all heights.

In my view, not all the paintings here ‘work’. Some like Dandy are overloaded - he should have stopped much earlier - whilst others like Bauhaus Baroque are too restrained and underwhelming.

However the thing with Snow is: when he gets into his stride and hits it, he hits it big time. Some oozy works like Prom Queen are fantastic. They are full of spatial and textural surprises and look bizarrely edible, like curly raspberry flavoured crisps: baked but akin to furled, very thin cake icing. They really play on the senses in a very basic way, and are extraordinarily inventive in their joyous unpredictability.

Fraganard’s Accident for example, is more about illusionary space with the overlaid, thinly scraped, floating marks that you peer through (and not at) - and the delicate outer edges. It reminds me partially of Julius Bissier. An intricate world dynamically compressed, waiting for you to mentally open it up.

Mellow Bearing looks like a disc of Camembert stuck on a lower section of stretcher frame, jammed into the lefthand corner. A compact celebration of shape, line, colour and mass, it balances like a seesaw without a fulcrum. Laden with such succulently creamy yellows.

There is also Violace, which you can watch being made on this wonderful video, an arrangement of ten assorted strips of light wood pushed into a setting bed of purple and left to dry hard. It is like a portable coloured wall, some intersections of batons strategically accentuated with smears of orange, and tiny little fissures scattered throughout the caked, mudlike pigment.

One of the larger pieces, the vanilla-specked Quarter Mass, presents pieces of splattered board ground down with a sander, and then glued together at odd angles with what looks like dollops of whipped crème. Its odd shape highlights Snow’s investigation of ad hoc processes, improvising as the materials enable a quirky logic to evolve on its own.

Another variety of painting (like Lobe and Black Malevich) is more austere - less decoratively dense texturally - being more focussed on chromatic or tonal variations within the squashed blobs of acrylic mousse holding the juxtaposed boards together. Here the action colourwise is in the joins, the oozy secretions inside the butted edges, that like chocolate lava flows over and on to them.

Whereas in Snow’s earlier and smaller works, woody textures played a significant role through the routering, here the runniness and viscosity of the paint - and its functionality in relation to holding the wood or board edges - takes over. Less splintery furrows and more enticing sludge.

John Hurrell

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