PAINTBOX ROSS GRAY
PAINTBOX ROSS GRAY
10 – 28 October 2017
The catalogue note overleaf that all paintings in the exhibition have been completed in 2017 leaves open the possibility that they may have been started before this year. In fact, apart from the holland blind work, they all began life either last year (the two largest) or some years ago, as parts of several modular series dating from 2006, which had been prefigured by Soundings, a large-scale modular installation at Christchurch Art Gallery in 2004.
Prior to a somewhat reductive phase in 2002 during MFA studies at UC, an earlier way of working involved much layering and gestural brushwork. These PAINTBOX recent works somewhat return to that (loosely) “expressionist” approach, legacy of Rudi Gopas. However, they retain much from the reduced, modular phase: the canvases’ imprints, from a first life as components of composite works with rhythmical broad-brush applied paint, help shape the nature of the resultant “new” painting. With a long- time appreciation of the presence of heritage buildings in our cities and the importance of what’s called adaptive reuse, for me there is a conceptual parallel in the re-use of, and capitalisation on, the existing qualities of these canvases: a hint of past lives.
Although no longer modular components of multi-part works, with their colour, form and compositional particularities / idiosyncacies, they have been forming installation-like relationships on the studio walls out the back, which I am keen to develop on the walls of the gallery out the front.
What are they “about”? That’s anyone’s guess, but for me: PAINT, the physicality of it and the process of painting and drawing, colour, brushwork and layering – yet the “sense” of things rather than certainties about them; BOX, power and politics (with some thinly disguised local references) within a context of time, memory and identity – and uncertainty.
Ross Gray 9.10.17