A review of the recent group exhibition: artists include - Mark Wooller, Penior, Amanda Watson, Lynda Wilson, Paul Judd, Damien Kurth, Maree Glass and Jessica Crothall
La Mezz Gallery, Hamilton
21 May – 13 June 2009
The recent exhibition 'Ensemble' at La Mezz Gallery, Hamilton, was a cohesive yet elaborate selection curated by Amanda Watson. Aptly titled, it was a gathering of fifteen works painted by eight established artists who, despite their variation in pitch, sing tunefully together. Watson's hanging facilitated dialogue between high realism, stencil, figurative and abstract expressionism, the bulk of which were of extremely high calibre. Most of the work exhibited had an illustrious depth provoking more than a mere surface reading.
The spatial layout of the mezzanine gallery gave plenty of breathing room to digest the collection, although the cramped entrance inhibited full appreciation of the first few paintings. Within the first enclave, the paired landscapes of Jessica Crothall and Mark Wooller were hung side by side, linked by their landscape theme; their commonality however was thematic rather than stylistic. Crothall's texturally rich abstracted landscapes ‘Near the Summit’ and ‘Towards the Light’ focused on mark-marking and appealed to woodcutting techniques, whereas Wooller's ‘Netted Inlet I’ and ‘Netted Inlet II’ alluded to strong environmental influences featuring a confluence of different elements and flatter in comparison.
The third bay explored and disrupted the viewer's traditional reading of work in relationship to an object's representation. Intriguing encaustic techniques utilised by Lynda Wilson in ‘Table Dwellers’ challenged reality in time and space, by featuring commonplace life scenes set on tables. This was further accentuated by Paul Judd's ‘Strangers Again’ that addressed issues of gender and role. Damien Kurth's male and female pairs of china cups, video, audio and robot parts demanded a non-traditional reading of his highly realistic diptychs. All of these works required that the viewer consider more than a simplistic reading of the objects and ponder what, in fact, the artist was seeking to provoke in distorting reality.
All credit to the curator — the flow and high standard of content declare ‘Ensemble’ a well thought-out and presented collection.
Reviewed and written by Emily Hill
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