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Fooks at Miles

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Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Miss Licorice, 2017, oil and mixed media on board, 445 x 350 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Return to Sender, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 460 x 365 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Praise the Lord, 2018, oil on board, 595 x 440 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Morning Mail, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 550 x 375 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, The Sphinx, 2018, oil and spray paint on canvas, 605 x 500 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Dung Beetle, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 545 x 500 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Designer Gown, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 365 x 300 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Clarence, 2018, moulding paste, oil and pigment on mixed media. 280 (D) x 500 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Braggadocio, 2018, oil and spray paint on mixed media, 980 x 410 x 410 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, Blue Suede Shoes, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 420 x 310 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks, About Town, 2018, oil and mixed media on board, 435 x 310 mm. Photo: Sam Hartnett Cat Fooks' Al Dente as installed at Anna Miles. Photo: Sam Hartnett

In these works spontaneity and speed rule, where nothing looks industrial or slick, going instead for a raw or ‘energetic' appearance. The results inevitably become thrillingly exuberant, with the work making use of pattern, decorative shapes and glistening colours, dwelling on repetitive processes of paint application and additive form making. Broadly applied and briefly daubed oil paint work hand in hand.

Auckland

 

Cat Fooks
Al Dente

 

29 July - 17 August 2018

In this, the third solo show of Cat Fooks at Anna Miles, we see four freestanding sculptures and eighteen paintings characteristically covered with brushed on thick oil paint—or occasionally sprayed thin—in a manner with its layered coating reminiscent of early Rob McLeod, but with the hot palette of the late Howard Hodgkin.

Fooks’ paint surface is often lumpy because various glued-on items (like brushes, books, table legs, compacts, cardboard shapes and plastic bulbs) tend to get buried beneath several layers, and the highly saturated colours are prone to be glossy. Contrasting undercoats constantly peak through the outside edges, fissures, pocks and crevasses, and they in turn have other bright hues visible through cracks and crumbly textures beneath them. There are lots of monochromatic surfaces that are under or over, churned up, streaky, adjacent chroma.

In these works spontaneity and speed rule, where nothing looks industrial or slick, going instead for a raw or ‘energetic’ appearance. The results inevitably become thrillingly exuberant, with the work making use of pattern, decorative shapes and glistening colours, dwelling on repetitive processes of paint application and additive form making. Broadly applied and briefly daubed oil paint work hand in hand.

One particularly choice item is Designer Gown, a rhythmic arrangement of tumbling petal-like marks (from dragged paint-filled brushes) that hints of L’Ancien Regime and prerevolution French aristocracy. It is reminiscent of marbling and sumptuous dress fabric pattern, but filtered through Soutine.

Fooks’ floor sculptures are also entertaining in their physicality, low furniture that is laden up with mysterious objects, attached and extravagantly coated. Again the materiality and substance of paint is celebrated, but recontextualised within a domestic space where you have to be careful it doesn’t attack your shins. There is a sort of animism. They could be pets.

Cat Fooks is a traditional manipulator of visceral paint, but not a radical innovator in terms of exploring its sculptural possibilities as pure substance—like say Rohan Wealleans, Glenn Burrell or Helen Calder who focus solely on paint’s assorted materialities in order to make sculpture. For Fooks the underlying support is crucial; it cannot be removed. This ensures her practice brims with excitement; sensual surface and enigmatic support being thoroughly integrated.

John Hurrell

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