Established Christchurch based artist, Darryn George, returns to Gow Langsford Gallery with his fifth solo exhibition, Exodus.
Exodus sees a departure from George’s recent body of geometric works. In these new works, George creates a more painterly and atmospheric background on which he overlays his instantly recognisable graphic forms. These graphic columns of abstracted kowhaiwhai and moko patterns in traditional red, black and white ensure that George’s Maori heritage remains foremost in his work.
Religion, and his own Christian faith, has always been an underlying theme in George’s practice and, as the title suggests, the exhibition uses The Book of Exodus as a source of inspiration. Thematically, Exodus is derived from stories told in chapters 14 and 15 about the nation of Israel travelling through the Red Sea, and the story of the deliverance of Israel from slavery. Abstracted aerial views represent the Israelites ascending through the water as depicted in The Crossing and The Crossing #2. Song of Miriam and Song of Miriam #2, as mentioned in Exodus Chapter 15, portrays the walls of water in which they walked through, and A Strong East Wind refers to the mechanism that God used to bank up these walls. Overlaid on top of each is George’s iconic geometric text that reads as Maori translations of the biblical text, drawing on his earlier works. The bold, contrasting text has a demanding presence on top of the soft blues and greys of the background, providing a vertical movement in line with the thematic ideals behind the works.
On a personal level, these works can be seen as a metaphor for the current situation that Christchurch is in, dealing with the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes. Like the nation of Israel moving through the parted Rea Sea, so too, are Cantabrians as they move forward from the hardship towards a brighter future. A Strong East Wind has particular ties to the eastern suburbs of Christchurch that were severely hit by the earthquakes and can be seen a metaphor for their resilience to these events.