Inspired by shop front signs and placards The Gloves Are Off brings together a series of typically Frizzellean sign paintings.
Encouraged by his move from Auckland to the Hawkes Bay the sign works began in the early 2000s as Dick Frizzell began to treat the signage of his new environment in the same way he would any other object in the landscape. Im not sure why I found it so difficult - on reflection. The sign of course is as much an object in the landscape as a tree - but I suspect it was the sheer banality of it that scared me. (Dick Frizzell: The Painter (2009), pg. 243)
Frizzell affectionately referred to these early sign works as "close up" landscapes, so close that "all you can see is the sign on the gate" (ibid). Although borrowing from found material Frizzell quickly discovered that as they were removed from their familiar contexts they became abstracted, which in turn allowed him the freedom to play with his source material.
What resulted were groupings of seemingly unrelated slogans and icons together within a single composition, all the yellow signs or all the fruit signs for example, giving the effect of being a single placard. Like much of Frizzells works The Gloves Are Off has a feeling or parochialism and references to pies, Moa and hangi maintain a distinctly kiwi feel.