Join us on Wednesday 6 June from 6-8pm for the opening of PAINT18.
A group exhibition presenting a selection of new works from five emerging artists whose practices span the breadth of current contemporary painting trends.
Featuring: Terrence Combos, Sam Holt, Joanne Makas, Ryan McGennisken and Laura Skerlj.
Curated by Barbara Dowse.
Approaches to painting today are as much explorations of the philosophy and concept of what painting is or might be as the methods and materials (paint may not even come into it) of its making.
At the core of much twentieth and twenty-first century painting is collage; as a stylistic approach to composition and process, in the integration of found physical elements and amalgamation of multiple parts.
The puzzle-like painted compositions of Terrence Combos are formed in their entirety through the plotting of cryptic text onto a gridded surface. As is acknowledged in the title of his painting, The plot thickens, text is presented in varying states of concealment through disorienting colour relationships, dense pattern organisation and reductive typography. Often making use of ciphers, anagrams, randomised text, and ambiguous referencing as his source material he makes the viewer work – requiring a forensic process of looking and reading, akin to deciphering a puzzle or code.
Terrence Combos undertook an artist residency in Fukuoka Japan in early 2018. A ‘library’ of ten small paintings serves as a cryptic trace of the residency, each devolving from an anagram of the first letter of each word of the first sentence from written statements about their practice by the artists from diverse countries and cultures undertaking the same residency before him. His focus is the challenge of visual linguistic interpretation encoded within the gridded pink and blue texts and patterns of his paintings.
Ryan McGennisken sets out to defy considered composition and gesture. He paints ‘alla prima’, all-in-one-go, in the outdoors, in silence, layering a combination of found non-art materials like rust, motor oil and dirt gathered around an industrial estate where he works and from his backyard and carport. Colour is spared in the Zen-like Stillage paintings. He welcomes random capture and imperfection and seeks unforeseen beauty; adding and deleting marks while seemingly inconsequential inclusions have influence in decisions. The paintings are left to weather and decay organically before he seals the disparate materials in matt polyurethane.
Joanne Makas mines the conceptual, material and perceptual qualities of painting. Her work grows from an inquiry into the physicality of painting and from the activity of application and layering of paint as seen in Confidently Lost, and graphite in None have your beauty. The immersive monochrome colour and folding in both works intensifies form. She is searching for the zone of indeterminacy between painting and object and the tension between a two-dimensional surface and a three-dimensional form, enabling her a freedom to explore and question what painting is or isn’t, can or can’t be…
Drawing and painting coalesce in Laura Skerlj’s works. Drawing has been an ongoing practice for her and the paintings are very much influenced by an intuitive distillation of the flow of gesture and energy of and from those drawings. The artist takes a “fragmental” approach to image making; experimenting here with stitching together sections of canvas and building a picture plane that is in flux and open; creating paintings that have the abstracting character of collage from the slow and reflective connecting of ambiguous parts or recurring motifs like the circles – a possible sun, moon, or focal point, or window, for her series of ‘O’ paintings, rendered in oil and acrylic paint and ink in a restricted palette of magenta, violet, lemon and black.
For Sam Holt the act of painting embodies the hubris, the vigour, the emotion, sense of discovery and the engagement and excitement and immediacy of creativity without compromise as it evolves on the canvas. His drivers are dreams and desires, thoughts and feelings – and possibilities. The spontaneity of his making and ‘stream of consciousness’ of his ruminations are reflected in titles like She looked at me like she had no idea what I was saying. Sam Holt works with sprayed and brushed paints, exploiting the optical opportunities of their different applications and effects and incorporates industrial materials, text, tapes and found fabrics for his intense ‘psychological landscapes’ that navigate and manifest the planned, the accidental and intuitive – as the artist would suggest; ‘like life’.