April 10 - May 2, 2015
Notes on painting:
Purple Rain is a new ladder work. Iron filings in emulsion create a rich, magma-like rust along its spine, while the outer edges are a light iridescent purple. These are the colours of heather on the hills of Central, and the purple haze that lingers in the shadows of Canterbury’s high country summer. What is this then? One of our foremost abstract painters seriously conjuring the interior of our southern landscape…?
The four Seasons paintings gesture this way too. Heat is applied to chemicals washed onto plates of brass. The lick of flame becomes the artist’s brush. And the feel of atmosphere, of sky, water and air is suggested. Although small, these evocations of light and dark, from summer to winter, mark time in their rhythmic traverse of the gallery’s long south wall.
But back to the cross. Ido Charwan is the colour of tea with a pinkish blush. The title makes reference to a sixteenth century wide-brimmed Japanese tea cup. And the painting has a surface as crackled and glazed as any fine ceramic. Never seen that in a Bambury. A happy accident, maybe? Then there is the matter of the edges, top and bottom of the painting, being so obviously askew. There’s rarely a right angle in any Bambury, but this is convergence taken too far. Or is it? For towards the right hand of the painting, the same edges dramatically diverge – of course. All of which is an improbable balancing act.
Balance in a Bambury is an interesting proposition. Edges between, between colours, materials and sometimes even panels, while seemingly aligned are usually slightly disjunct. Similarity is allowed to slide alongside difference. Physically and philosophically this allows Bambury some serious play. In IC089335 for example, a Greek orthodox Christian cross harbours the black square of Malevich’s Suprematism. And in Purple Rain, the same cross rubs up against the tantric pleasure of chakra and the human spine.
But in SC119866 we slip back to the discretion of the visual. A cross, slim and elegant of limb, in a hot almost fluorescent orange, floats in a square field of creamy white. There is an ever-so-slight stipple of sponge (or is it roller?) about its incandescent surface. Then we note that the cross has a double, the same form echoed in smooth, somehow shinier cream immediately behind. Just shifted a little lower and to the right, its presence announced by a subtle textural and tonal shift from that which surrounds it. Its density as 'shadow' is allowed by black underpainting. Three black notes and a line about the edges of the painting, at the ends of each arm of the slip(ped) cross make this point. They also read like clockwork, moving our eyes (clockwise?) around the painting. It is good to know that the pursuit of beauty has not been lost to painting.
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Details of works
Purple Rain 2015 iron filings & acrylic on seven aluminium panels 2765 x 500mm
Ido Chawan 2013 acrylic on two aluminium panels 1220 x 650mm
SC119866 2011 acrylic on two aluminium panels 1200 x 1200mm
IC089335 2008/12 acrylic on aluminium 800 x 800mm
Tantra Song 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 380 x 424mm
Tantra Song (2) 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 380 x 424mm
Seasons (Spring) 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 170 x 340mm
Seasons (Summer) 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 170 x 340mm
Seasons (Autumn) 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 170 x 340mm
Seasons (Winter) 2014 chemical action on two brass panels on ply 170 x 340mm
Drawings on Secret Knowledge (I) 2014
acrylic, enamel, pencil, pigmented oil size & gold leaf on hand-made Indian paper 300 x 300mm
Drawings on Secret Knowledge (II) 2014
acrylic, enamel, pencil, copper leaf & white gold leaf on hand-made Indian paper 300 x 300mm
Drawings on Secret Knowledge (III) 2014
acrylic, enamel, pencil & gold leaf on hand-made Indian paper 300 x 300mm