Up the Road
July 7 - 30, 2016
A series of 13 small landscapes sit well in the intimate space of the back gallery. Dick Frizzell's travelling show Up the Road has made yet another stop. Familiar scenes of rural New Zealand greet visitors, and give privileged access to the eye of the artist and the views that have captured his imagination during his many road trips.
It is fascinating to note the changes to composition – the compressions, additions and general alterations Dick Frizzell makes from the moment he chooses a scene and photographs it, to the final decision to down brushes and announce a (landscape) painting as complete.
Here is the lighthouse at Cape Egmont photographed on the left, with the finished painting on the right. In the painting, the lighthouse is brought forward, its form made squat and dominant, whilst the house adjacent is compressed, and the lighting above and below the deck, along with the forms of those structures are simplified and lifted in intensity. The painterly language for Norfolk pine is a triumph on the left of the painting; and lovely how the little hillview inserted behind the (lower) Norfolk adds light, distance and the opportunity to tilt both garden and hillside, to heighten the drama of lit grass against darker foliage and enhance the sense of movement in the painting.
Frizzell says that “I carry in my head a set of proportions (weights and measures) that I work with, and that consequently I’m always looking for motifs in the world that echo these precepts.” With regard to this set of paintings then – a track, road or driveway that sinuously leads our eye is a starting point, with density of trees and trimmed shelterbelts as counterpoint – all rolled out in the gentle countryside of New Zealand.
On the road, views are noted, gathered and a photograph snapped. Once developed, the 'tyrannical detail of the photograph' is redacted. The rhythms of composition are nuanced through pencil drawing, and in gouaches, the painterly language for different grasses, foliage, trees and structures is developed to a point of confidence and knowledge. For though Frizzell’s landscapes do reference place, and often the very essence of this place, it is as paintings, as beautifully deft constructs of brushed and stroked acrylic on canvas, that the intrinsic weight and worth of Frizzell’s work is truly measured.
Please hover over image to see title...
Details of works
Approaching Akaroa, 2016 acrylic on linen
Cattle Stop, 2016 acrylic on linen
Orinoco Driveway, 2014 acrylic on linen
Vineyard Track, 2015 acrylic on linen
One Way, 2016 acrylic on linen
Another Stop on the Forgotten Highway, 2015 acrylic on linen
Farm Track, 2016 acrylic on linen
Hawkes Bay Lane, 2014 acrylic on linen
Lighthouse, 2016 acrylic on linen
Dark Track, 2014 acrylic on linen
Dark Hedge, 2016 acrylic on linen
Private Driveway Hawkes Bay, 2014 gouache on paper
Limestone Road Kawhia, 2015 acrylic on linen
Near 8 Mile Junction, 2015 acrylic on linen
Second Haumoana Driveway, 2014 gouache on paper
Gate and Track, 2014 gouache on paper
The acrylics on linen measure 520 x 670mm framed.
The gouache studies measure 450 x 500mm framed.