Thursday, November 28, 2019

Metal Affects - Installation Views

Installation View. 
Left to right: Brent Harris, Allan Mitelman, Imi Knoebel.
Imi Knoebel, courtesy of Fox Jensen McCrory & Fox Jensen Gallery

“Double Dead Bunny”, 
Edition of 15
Oil on stainless steel on wood mount.
23 x 16 x 1.5 cm
Private Collection
Brent Harris is  is represented by 
Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne & Robert Heald 

Installation View. 
Left to right: Brent Harris, Allan Mitelman, Imi Knoebel, Devin Farrand.
Imi Knoebel, courtesy of Fox Jensen McCrory & Fox Jensen Gallery
Hard ground etching
Image:  19.5 x 14.75 cm
Private Collection
“Carrara Landscape”
Yellow zinc plated steel
65 x 39 x  2.75 cm
Private Collection
Installation View. 
Left to right: Matlock Griffiths, Wolfram Ullrich
Left:“Four across (4/4)”
Patinated bronze. 
31.9 x 30.9 x 4.2 cm. 
Private Collection
Right:“My Fair Lady (1,2,3)”
Patinated bronze. 
30 × 28 × 3 cm.
Private Collection 
Matlok Griffiths is represented by  Reading Room, Melbourne & Darren Knight Gallery , Sydney

Installation View. 
Left to right: Devin Farrand, Matlok Griffiths, Wolfram Ullrich.
“Big Girl G.2”, 
acrylic / aluminium 
44.5 x 32.8 x 3 cm
Courtesy of Fox Jensen & Fox Jensen McCrory Gallery
Imi Knoebel is  is represented by Fox Jensen Gallery , Sydney & Fox Jensen McCrory, Auckland
Installation View. 
Left to right: Brent Harris, Allan Mitelman, Imi Knoebel. as before
Imi Knoebel, courtesy of Fox Jensen McCrory & Fox Jensen Gallery
Installation View. 
Left to right: Matlock Griffiths, Wolfram Ullrich
“Untitled [Gelb/ Citron]” 
Acrylic on steel.
25 x 50 x 5.2 cm
Private Collection
Installation View. 
Both works: Matlock Griffiths as before
Detail: “Carrara Landscape” 2016
as before

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Metal Affects - Greenwood Street Project

When you start to think of painting in regard to its support you can start to think of pictures. You can think of illusionistic space filled will symbols and messages, read or undeciphered. All of this clinging to a web of fibres called the support, linen or canvas, light and easy to unfurl and re tension for transport in a 16th century transaction. This trajectory unravels quickly when painting is questioned (yet later defended). The painting, image, message and support begin to shift in weight and volume.

What happens when we look at Lucio Fontana’s punctures and incisions? He quickly decided that all manner of structure can support his advances. The slits in canvas moved to become chiselled violations of metal shim.

The works presented in this Greenwood Street Project are an exploration of a malleable shift to the metal support and its value to the individual artists’ oeuvre.

To return to images, the production of etching, particularly the most direct of these processes, the dry point etching, allowed for low relief drawing and incising to be a mechanism of mass communication. The metal burr filled with ink, pressed to dampened paper. The plate created with clarity, often precision, great effort and dexterity. The use of the etching medium varied wildly in its primacy between the print as reproduction, multiple or study.

In Matlok Griffiths’ bronze’s we see not reproduction but painting. These reliefs freeze a now unseeable work, for we cannot know the model’s pictorial intent through colour and shade. Now we know it through its material, evidenced permanently in bronze. We can see the effort and gesture, the texture of the paint and collaged canvas, even the fragility of frozen licks of paint hanging from the surface edge. The artists hand and figuration are heightened by stasis implied by the bronze and sealed under its stately patina.

It is possible for mark-making into and /or onto metal can move beyond the tenderly elevated replica or signatured intaglio. 

Devin Farrand is a sculptor in metal and marble. In this work he has modified the surface by “drawing”, the tool: welding, on the reverse of a steel plate. The alchemic modification of the surface on the presented face is subtle. The image is a landscape, Carrara, the origin his other preferred medium. It is revealed by a wash of rainbow zinc passivation sealing the work. The process simultaneously conflates and elevates the concealed image while being produced with a chemical process unique to this set of materials. This work is also moved to object status by its steel angle frame treated identically to the surface pushing the image into object territory once again.

This object has no paint & its coloured film is spontaneous and uncontrollable. Imi Knoebel is flirtatious but masterful with concepts of control. Historically, his extrusions, build, repetitive paint application & method are tested and trialled. The rigidity of the process is clear yet undeniably painterly. This recent work offers a flurry of brush stroke and luminous pigment. The clarity gives way to humanity through gesture and the torn form of the surfaces cut out edge. The betrayal here is where the lyrical, seductive surface does not float micron thin from the wall but instead, on some 3cm’s of solid aluminium. The regrounding onto industrial measures of material support seamlessly continues his exploration of painting as a priority. Aluminium is as molten at some point in its fabrication as paint is pliable. Could it be a sub-narrative on elemental states of gas, liquid through to solid?

Heft and solidity are illusions as strong as those of pictorial space. The level of relief and its placement on the architectural support (the wall) can shift perception equally. Wolfram Ullrich’s work is a dimensional relief with oblique steel edges. Its torqued geometry shifting as its points appear to adjust with you in your track through the room.  His works illusion is spatial, implicating the viewer and the environment into his theatre. The front face is painted to sharpen the impact, where the colours intensity seduces. Its machine-like application devoid of the makers hand crystalize the object rather than operate as a pure surface. The support is doing the work here. 

The film of paint that registers and supports his spatial image is flat. Observing the work by Brent Harris, the same flat colour and hard edge is applied but the image is fluid as if leaking and doubled for additional friction. The moist repeated shape, produced during the dark days of the AIDS epidemic, lifts and shudders off its surface. This image by Harris was repeated on canvas and on stainless steel, as it is here, and at various scales. The image on metal lifts up like a decal, where the works on canvas with their black ground cause the image rise above then sink into its abyss. The “Bunnies” illustrated on this work are agitated by their adjacency and the tonal shift in the replication. 

Despite the visual tricks, we have arrived back at image and message. But why the steel face? The artist cannot recall. Could it be the surgical precision or the metallic after taste? The question is an opportunity to engage. The Minerals Council may sniff at this nuanced sensitivity, yet our emotional profits lay elsewhere.  To expand this field into a gallimaufry of more extreme sculptures and reliefs and explore tangential threads apparent at the links between these musings is a future prospect, one requiring more walls than this room. All of these objects, paintings or not, reveal an attachment to their chosen ground. However familiar the form making or however gradually the ideas solidify; they could not as richly exist without their elemental base. 

November 2019
Donald Holt

Metal Affects - On View