The Armory Show, New York 2004
22 January 2004
23 January 2003
1 August 2002
Tracey Moffatt - Fourth
2 August 2001
If these walls could talk (Tony Clark, Callum Morton, David Noonan, Kathy Temin, Jenny Watson)
3 March 2005
Five artists were invited to create a new body of work for a group exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. No particular theme was prescribed. The resulting show, If these walls could talk, comprises a collection of paintings, sculptures and short silent films by Tony Clark, Callum Morton, David Noonan, Kathy Temin and Jenny Watson. When considering the themes and formal attributes of these artists’ works, a common interest in interiors or internal dialogues, both literal and figurative, suggests itself as a possible way of navigating the exhibition.
Tony Clark abstracts the three primary historical genres of painting – landscape, portrait, still life – pushing them towards the domain of the decorative arts, exploring the dialogue between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, between the emotionally expressive painted surface and spatially imposing sculptural form. The story of how painting attends architecture and of how the urge to depict the external world may be subordinated to an alternative logic which is structured by the demands imposed by the requirements of decoration, in the process of visually intensifying otherwise functional surfaces (e.g. walls, doorways, dinnerware). Or it may be dominated by some other formula as with
Callum Morton’s two free-standing sculptures express abrupt violations of limits, invasion and explosion of a world of otherwise orthogonal blandness and clarity. They are ruptured utilitarian structures, terrorised strongholds. A small monochrome safe with an enamel finish has been exploded from inside, fracturing its walls in what Morton describes as a form of ‘bankruptcy’. He first constructs the object in a computer-aided drawing program and then applies the crudest readymade gesture available to the artist in the software’s toolbox. The pleasure of carefully constructing and then destroying the object all happens on screen and then a frozen moment of the animation is rendered in three dimensions. In the second work, a large rock bulges from within a modernist security checking booth. Simple metaphors are rendered in micro narratives.
From David Noonan’s five bleach paintings on black cloth and two silent, painterly black and white Super 8 films, a somewhat haunted aesthetic emerges, nostalgic for the transported consciousness of 1970s mystic bohemian culture. Figures in trance-like states stare into a forest or across a lake, highly detailed ‘oriental’ caftan designs are camouflaged within the natural lace patterns of a leafy enclosure and ethereal dappled light. With his bleach paintings, Noonan represents light by taking blackness away via the application of diluted bleach to stretched black cloth. In his utopian images, narratives are suggested but not fully articulated. The concern is with atmospherics, the way in which the meditative psychological interior infiltrates or is continuous with its physical surrounds. Javanese Wayang puppets - one of the oldest oral traditions of storytelling - feature in the exhibition in both painting and film. Wayang is the Javanese word for ‘shadow’ or ‘ghost’. With their back-projected images, Wayang performances are proto-cinematic. Noonan in turn films the performance redoubling the fascination of moving shadows. In his second film in the exhibition, the camera is turned on his now signature painting subject. Ground-dwelling owls, solitary or in couples, inhabit a grassy enclosure like ancient ascetics. They are both alien and familiar, a grainy memory housed in celluloid.
Kathy Temin presents the first in a new series of works, large dolls’ houses modeled from memory of places she has lived. The work in If these walls could talk is the Moet & Chandon chateau in
The text panels of Jenny Watson’s paintings recount tender anecdotes based on memories both experienced and anticipated that the artist has been witness to in public places. These are combined with images painted on decorative French dress fabrics - Watson’s ready-made backgrounds. She paints a magpie on the back of a horse (a scene that she sees everyday out the window of her house) in large scale on an assertive floral ground and a self portrait (horse and rider) in small scale under the scrutiny of a microscope. Watson often uses scale as a metaphor for expressing moments of confidence/lack of confidence. Personal resilience is tested regularly when Watson competes in dressage equestrian competition. The contest subjects each physical attribute of horse and rider to harsh criticsm. This microscope is painted on a print cloth with trees and tigers. The printed patterns provide an alternative focus to the painted image that Watson invents. In these works, Watson unveils an emotional interior that speaks of pleasure, love, loss.
Tony Clarkwas selected for Documenta IX in 1992. A major retrospective exhibition of his work, Tony Clark – Public and Private Paintings 1982-1998, was held at the
All of the artists in the exhibition have exhibited extensively in
Exhibition opening: Thursday March 3,
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday , Saturday