December 4 - 22, 2012
Looking at Kristy Gorman’s painting reminds us again that small things matter. For hers is a practice made intimately and with full attention to detail. But there is also incremental change. Here for the first time are two and occasionally three colours in a painting; there is more than one motif repeated within that painting, and these motifs are increasingly placed asymmetrically within compositions.
Take Lapse II for example. The ground is a gesso sanded to a fine tooth, then painted with just the softest blush of peach coloured ink, so that the bottom seems slightly more radiant than the top. Within this deeply atmospheric ground there are two areas of visual activity. Both register as technical drawings might – as series of building blocks with ambition to the architectonic. But this is less Bauhaus utopian plan, than it is the sheer pleasure and beauty of pure painting. Gorman’s sense of edge (different from within and without), her ability to suggest various densities and transparencies of form and then to place that form alongside or overlaying others, is deft and handsome and dignified. There are squares and set squares in Lapse II where Gorman has painted, blotted and re-painted her greeny-near-black inks with such exquisite subtlety, that we read their stacking in space, their effortless claiming of illusory space (both towards us and back in to the picture plane) as second nature. The delicacy of edge varies with density and tone, so that Gorman can paint similar forms very close, and they appear to be everywhere but different.
Subtle shifts are the name of her game. In one drawing, small changes in tone (the ink is a blue /grey) enliven rows of inverted triangles so that they seem to vibrate, to tremble and to hover on the spot. A slight change of colour in another drawing reads like a shift of register, and the whole works begins to dance. In other drawings, small physical changes of ground made by embossing the paper are key to activating the work. While in the paintings Free Form and Untitled, shape is optically folded and re-folded origami-like, to entice the eye around elegantly crafted compositions.
There is a suite of small working drawings that bustle with ideas expressed in the bigger works. And there is the stylish Lean To – with ochres and yellows that recall Gordon Walters – but whose gentle angularity and presentation proud upon a shelf, maintain it very much in the here and now.
Jonathan Smart Gallery is delighted to present Crytomnesia, Kristy Gorman’s first solo exhibition in Christchurch since 2007. The exhibition is accompanied by an important illustrated catalogue designed by Catherine Griffiths, with text by Janine Randerson.
All works are ink on paper or ink on board, from 2012.