SNO 112 MUSEUM, Sydney Non-Objective Art Projects Sydney, 7 February - 28 February 2015

installation views


catalogue essay

MUSEUM is a survey of work selected from the blank, perforated, text and timber frame paintings spanning the last 15 years.  The exhibition also includes rare exhibition ephemera from my collection of early shows by Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Frank Stella and Sol LeWitt.  These artists have been a significant influence on the Minimal/Conceptual approach to my work. 

The constant point of departure for the paintings is what constitutes painting, and exploring the conventions of painting. The paintings are intentionally loaded with references to the signature styles of iconic artists associated with the historical attributes of painting’s ‘zero degree’ including the grid, monochrome, stripe, square and Minimalist primary structures. 

The paintings are based on an extreme reductive aesthetic of simplification and repetition.  Each painting contains a serial element made according to a process that is first planned, then executed, and repeated.  This serial element and repetition of forms in series is intended to give the paintings a cumulative strength whilst challenging what is ‘unique’ and ‘original’. 

The paintings are constructed objects, well-finished but without mastery or virtuosity.  A standardised approach using the same composition, format, materials and support allows the same painting to be painted over and over.  Paint is generally applied in a regular overall finish similar to the processes and techniques of commercial painting and decorating.  Paint application is neither exaggerated nor intentionally made expressive.  All the materials are configured in a minimal and logical fashion rather than in terms of their limitless transformational possibilities.  Any variation has occurred unintentionally as a result of the painting process.  The intention is for simplicity and rigorous economy without deliberate or elaborate intervention and variation.

The timber frame paintings take the form of a frame which traditionally surrounds and delimits a painted canvas or a two dimensional surface.  Though they have only a shallow depth, they nevertheless extend into the third dimension as objects.  Their three-dimensionality and exposure of parts of the gallery wall through the picture plane ensure they inhabit literal space of the gallery.  As Minimalist ‘specific objects’ they adopt a literalness that threatens the distinction between the categories of painting and sculpture.

The use of paint used on gallery walls and text of other artists’ names appropriate these names and the art world generally, including the context and function of the gallery itself.  This appropriation creates a new situation and a new meaning or set of meanings unrelated to the specific artists named.  Each painting is reduced to the basic essence of a wall colour (e.g. paint used on the walls of the National Gallery of Australia) and an artist’s name.  As some of the most recognisable artists the ‘iconic’ names will be familiar to most viewers, and as such can evoke association with the artist’s oeuvre.