Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples
Patrick Lundberg, Three Big Works
Denys Watkins, Save the last Dance for Me
Ivan Anthony Gallery
Until February 22
Matthew Browne, Moment of Tangency
Gow Langsford Gallery
Until February 19
Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples
Three recent exhibitions of work by Patrick Lundberg, Denys Watkins and Matthew Browne show artists using colour in both subtle and dramatic ways expressing ideas and emotions.
On first seeing Patrick Lundberg’s latest show of “Three Big Works” one is reminded of William Blake’s line about seeing “ a World in a Grain of Sand”
His exhibition of small painted spheres and other geometric shapes which are fixed to the walls in a seemingly casual manner taking on the appearance of a map of the heavens creating something of the ambivalence we have in regarding the universe seeing it as something between ordered and the random.
One work ($8200) consists of twenty-four of these shapes while the other two ($6200 each) have 16 shapes.
The work can be appreciated at a distance seeing them as a map of the universe or up close where the individual spheres and shapes can be studied. The delicate lines and colours of these miniature works reinforce the Blake line along with another of his quotes about being able to,
“Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
Some of the small spheres themselves are intricately painted so that they look like tiny planets while some of the small red ones could be mistaken for Jaffas.
The Denys Watkins paintings in his “Save the last Dance for Me” show range from compact work such as “Heathen Dance” ($2500) to the larger “Boomsville” ($8000)
Watkins is wide-ranging in his references to popular culture, music, art, architecture and other cultural forms. An obvious connection here is with “Ronettes” ($2500) referring to the three members of the 60’s and 70’s girl group, The Ronettes.
Some of the titles are obstruse while others provide a sense of Watkins’ way of thinking through his creations. Presumably “Frank L W” ($4800) refers to Frank Lloyd Wright, the mandala like shape of the painting referencing the geometric forms which Wright saw as having spiritual dimensions related to Celtic or Theosophical notions.
Similarly, “Louis K” ($4800) could be referring to the abstraction of the American architect Louis Kahn while Rudolph S ($4800) connects to the work of Rudolph Steiner and his spiritual approach to the arts, drama and architecture,
Then there is “Holland Park” ($2500) which could be a reference to the English artist Howard Hodgkins, the small painting looking like one of artist’s colourful, gestural works.
Where Watkins has a fluid approach to colour Matthew Browne’s exhibition Moment of Tangency takes a more rigorous approach. In speaking about the artists geometric colour works writer Emil McEvoy notes about the artist that “In Browne’s process, a painting evolves in an unplanned and improvised manner, as each new component – a coloured shape, line or layer – intuitively responds to the former. They unfold one element at a time until a composition comes together where successive lines, forms and planes meet.”
The titles of his works generally refer to ideas or concepts it is difficult or impossible to define, attempting to find ways to describe the indescribable or transitory thoughts.
With many of the works the artist has resorted to titles which could gave come from the Dictionary of Obscure Thoughts and Emotions with definitions such “Trumspringa” – the temptation to step off your career track and become a shepherd in the mountains or “Daguerrologue” – an imaginary interview with an old photo of yourself, while the entire series of works titled “Morii” is defined as The desire to capture a fleeting experience.
This approach results in paintings which often look like components of a three-dimensional jigsaw, as though there are missing components which if discovered will solve the problem, answer the question and there is a certain cinematic quality to some of the work with bands of colour sliding across the surface.
They can also seem like the components of a fashion designer patterns, seemingly abstract shapes which when combined and assembled in the correct manner result in a complex structure or shape.
His work explores Minimalism through experiments with space and geometry, through the use of colours, exactitude, and precision manipulating images and arrangements of objects in order to challenge the perception of the viewer. It is as though there is a secret language in his work to be discovered.
While there is a conceptual approach with his work this is balanced by a playful and quirky aspect to the paintings with the artist enjoying the spontaneity of assembling collages,
The works range from the relatively simple “Socha” ($4500) with two interlocking shapes and “Morii 17” through to the larger and more intricate works such as “Onism” ($18,000) and “Flashover” ($18,000).
While colour contrasts are a major aspect of the show his “Pouri” ($18,000) features a dominant black which overwhelms the smaller slices of colour emphasising the importance of shape.
The various shapes have connections with Abstract Geometric Art and artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Josef Albers as well as the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.