The artists in Paint15 approach painting in diverse styles and materials yet common to each is an element of transition or flux: be it the organic architectural forms of Yioryios, the changing surface color in the chameleon-like paintings of Adam Turnbull with pigments that react to different temperatures and ultraviolet exposures, the hyper-colour fanciful compositions and forms of Louise Zhang or Adrian Hobbs’ cinematic slant on chaos theory.
This pervasion of apocalyptic phenomena and transitory states in the works of all these artists and many of their contemporaries is perhaps reflective of our accelerated net-age digital communications or a collective sense of the instability of political, ideological, environmental, and financial uncertainties of our time?
The seductive relationship between attraction and repulsion is a key focus in Louise Zhang’s works. Her beautiful but strange paintings and sculpture are manifestations of excess while navigating the fine line between the monstrous and the cute and metamorphosis and mutation. Hi-viz synthetic hyper-colours, the allure of shiny plastic and Pourfoam, with accretions of beads, glass and plastics, fuel the alchemy and artifice of the ‘beyond real’ objects and multi-panelled, layered wall-works that Louise Zhang creates. Cryptic narrative titles like ‘I went to Mars and the isolation and the red speckled color of winds eroded my sanity and it was beautiful’ further add to the magicking and fantasia.
Adrian Hobbs acknowledges that chaos has historically been considered the inferior and the opposite of order but that a lot of contemporary thought, from mathematics to physics and philosophy, is now recognizing the essential role chaos plays in all existence. The artist’s works are observations on manifestations of chaos to both navigate and to liberate the unknown and its many interpretations. The departure for Adrian Hobbs’s paintings is an image from cinema – the final explosion scene in Zabriski Point, the cult seventies film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni where shattered fragments of property developers’ unwelcome incursions are flung into the spatial void over Death Valley like so much aerial flotsam and jetsam, prefacing either nihilism or nirvana.
Adam Turnbull developed his Surface series of paintings over the past three years while living in New York and working with a thermometry specialist to create paint pigments that react to different temperatures ranging from 19 to 30 degrees Celsius and to the radiated energy and variations in intensity of ultra-violet (UV) exposures that manifest changes in tone and texture. Imbedded in an abstract minimalist aesthetic where emphasis is on process and surface his works are in contrast to the ‘narrative’ and playful exuberance of Louise Zhang yet metamorphosis and dynamism are integral to both.
All Yioryios’s sculptural paintings are grounded in architecture. The works in Paint15 are responses to spaces within Harry Seidler’s Australia Square and Australian Embassy in Paris and to Utzon’s Sydney Opera House. Mutability and architecture underpin the ever-evolving free-form helixes and spirals engaging volume and space, surface and colour that opportunistically devolve from cut-out sections that are the out-takes from the interstices within earlier of the artist’s larger wall works to create new and independent objects.
Barbara Dowse – Curator