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JH

Encrusted Agitation Galore

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Cat Fooks' Pleasant St exhibition as installed at Anna Miles Cat Fooks, Last Frontier, 2016 Cat Fooks, Clam Bake, 2016 Cat Fooks, Shangri La, 2016 Cat Fooks, Elegans Champagne, 2016 Cat Fooks' Pleasant St exhibition as installed at Anna Miles Cat Fooks, Clifford Parks, 2016 Cat Fooks, Wine with Every Thing,  2016 Cat Fooks, Ziggurat, 2016 Cat Fooks, San Marco, 2016 Cat Fooks, The Allotment, 2016 Cat Fooks, Sloughing, 2016 Cat Fooks, Dot to Dot, 2016 Cat Fooks, Little Miss Sunshine,  2015 Cat Fooks, Zizou, 2016

Much of it is like collage, but suppressing the visual qualities of the adhered items and accentuating the sculptural. Most of the glued on bits and pieces, like shells, seeds, or old paint brushes, stretcher wedges and toys, tend to get covered with thick shiny plastic skin. They are hidden, obscured, but still detectable as reflective forms that catch shadows. Fook's work is obsessive, fixated on coating things. Or showering them with frayed dots. Contextualising with coloured crevasses, pocks, slivers and dimples.

Auckland

 

Cat Fooks
Pleasant St

 

31 July - 2 September 2016

The thirteen domestic sized paintings presented here by Cat Fooks celebrate the tactile (surface) and plastic qualities of oil and enamel paint: their covering power, saturated chroma and dribbly rubbery oozability. Most are framed, those elements being painted too, as a continuum from the adjacent, normal, ‘conventional’ base supports.

Much of it is like collage, but suppressing the visual qualities of the adhered items and accentuating the sculptural. Most of the glued on bits and pieces, like shells, seeds, or old paint brushes, stretcher wedges and toys, tend to get covered with thick shiny plastic skin. They are hidden, obscured, but still detectable as reflective forms that catch shadows. Fook’s work is obsessive, fixated on coating things. Or showering them with frayed dots. Contextualising with coloured crevices, pocks, slivers and dimples.

Wildly scruffy, with lots of compulsive daubs, smears, stabs and wipes, every surface is modulated, glistening and chaotically messy - as if stopping were out of the question. Not much pure or ‘clean’ paint remains, for agitation is the mindset; a continually manually active body at full throttle. There’s a lot of influence from the decorative marks of Howard Hodgkin, but without the large scale and formal tightness - or restraint. Hints abound of very early Robert McLeod.

Of the range of varied compositions, I prefer the simpler ones, for if I’m attracted to chaos there is a point where I find total bombardment irritating. With Fooks, the works with lots of dramatic blacks (without the chromatic freneticism) or dark browns and watery anaemic greens, are her most successful. Where the painted shape is flat and clear, the edges confident and controlled.

Yet these works are so rough’n raw, and bad taste. Nutty even? They are hamfisted and haphazard; deliberately ugly (for humour’s sake?) And seem inspired by gardens. (“Primitive” too maybe?) 

They also seem driven by process, as if the energetic making is the point, not the product; the doing being vital - and not the completion. A rustic process - a mindless blindness embedded in no sight as cathartic action - a folksy fixation on an unrelentingly numbing procedure of marks.

John Hurrell

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