Five Painters is a cross selection of five contemporary New Zealand artists, each with a distinct approach to painting.
James Cousins’ textured surfaces begin or end with the identifiable, pushing or pulling further away with the application of each layer. Spontaneous acts and precise marks of pattern and process combine to question what a painting is, what it can be. In contrast, a slice of landscape collides with aged objects to act as a metaphor in Michael Hight’s painting. His surreal juxtaposition of the real is used to reflect on issues of land ownership and the impact of early settlers in New Zealand. A form of still-life, the darkness in these works is hauntingly beautiful.
In Judy Millar’s work, handmade gestures move across soft, otherworldly ground. There is an immediacy to the gestures as Millar questions how we perceive the surface, and moreover, the world around us. What is reality, how different is what one viewer sees to the next? On a different tangent, Loosely Packed Squares by Simon Ingram is a collaboration between artist and machine. Ingram lets the outside world directly influence his work via way of a hand-built painting machine, directed by a computer program, designed by the artist. The marks on the canvas have a slight mechanical twitch, the artist taking on the role of the architect.
On the back wall, Graham Fletcher invites the viewer into two luxury domestic settings. Oceanic and African Tribal art is placed inside modernist interiors, beside artworks by internationally renowned artists such as Alexander Calder. Fletcher poses questions about the traditions of collecting and cultural politics of exchange.
Using the medium to achieve different means, Five Painters takes a look at the directions contemporary painters in New Zealand are taking today.