Angela Brennan’s current exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery comprises ten large paintings and ten corresponding small paintings. These works are characterized by a definite stricture of process. Brennan’s recipe for this exhibition is remarkable within her wide-ranging and often more unruly exploration of the very varied field of abstraction. In Geranium Lake, Brennan applies the following method:
1. Make each painting the same size;
2. Use only one colour per painting in combination with a Titanium White-based ground;
3. Minimize overlappings and intersections of lines;
4. Minimize drips;
5. Eliminate solid shapes of colour;
6. Give each painting a readymade title after the colour from which it is made.
With these reduced means, each ‘event’ in each painting is emphasised and accrues greater significance within the field of the canvas. Such events include:
a. The difference between colour and non-colour;
b. The affective qualities of colour;
c. The intersections and convergences of lines;
d. The thickenings and thinnings of lines;
e. Changes in direction;
f. Suggestions of familiar geometry;
g. Suggestions of topography;
h. Amorphous shapes;
i. White shape bounded by coloured lines;
j. Saturation and dilution of colour;
k. White grounds which on close inspection are revealed to be colour.
Brennan distils the emotional/mental effects of colours, tuning in to their various wavelengths. This giving voice to colour is reinforced by her use of colour names for titles. Some names of colours are the objective names of specific pigments, that is, the name of the mineral followed by the hue and then perhaps a description of the tonal quality (e.g. Cadmium Yellow Deep). Some associate a concept or a thing with a hue (e.g. Chinese Red or Mars Black). Some associate the colour of a flower – nature’s most spectacular expression of colour - with a type of pigment (e.g. Geranium Lake) which conveys information of its organic or mineral origin.
Angela Brennan has worked principally with abstract painting although her work of the 1980s included figurative painting and installation work. She was recently included in the group exhibitions Talking About Abstraction at Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney (2004) and Good Vibrations: The Legacy of Op Art in Australia, at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2002). She has been short-listed for numerous art prizes. Her paintings are held in every major public collection in Victoria as well as the National Gallery of Australia and numerous private collections in Australia, New York, Israel and Singapore, including the Mont Blanc Art Collection in Switzerland. In 2003 Brennan participated in an artist-in-residency program at the Red Gate Gallery at the Beijing Art Academy in China. In 2005, Brennan will have her first commercial exhibition in London. Angela Brennan has been exhibiting with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 1993. Geranium Lake will be her seventh solo exhibition with the gallery.