A review of a recent group exhibition: artists include - Stefan Roberts, Tim Brown, Jessica Crothall, and Ben Lucas
Selwyn Gallery, Darfield
6 June - 2 July 2009
Four local artists intersect and relate in their visual communication. Each uniquely expresses the idea of time having passed. The resulting changes experienced link the abstract works. Responding to scripture, I Corinthians 13.12, Stefan Roberts' diptych ‘Looking Beyond the Shadowlands I & II’ repeats the image of a naked male figure standing alone, transfixed. A bolt, or rod, of light sits to the right of the figure, diagonally angled toward it. Acting as possible before-and-after pictures, the images differ in the amount of light around the central figure, perhaps a reference to transfiguration more than transformation.
The enigma continues in Tim Brown's work. His well-known ballistic-styled ceramics sit upon purpose made crates. They seem monumental, in memory of an era passed, conceivably to pay tribute to a past time of warring. Unfortunately they remind me that war is seldom past; only the place and types of weapons change with time.
Appreciation of natural time— be it within a day or between seasons—seems to summarise the works of Jessica Crothall and Ben Lucas. Crothall talks of 'Responding to land' and 'life [being] like a journey - over valleys and hills until we reach the summit'. Her paintings ‘Rippled Sand Dunes I & II’ utilise the canvas for its negative space as much as for the positive application of paint. I enjoy the raw energy of the woodcut-like strokes, although I would prefer to see more variety in both the mark-making and density of paint. An atmosphere of movement is created, as if wind or water flows across the entire scene.
Lucas' sky-scapes also speak of the passing of time. Bands of colour blend, merge and bounce. Bright and sombre tones react well with the changing natural light entering the gallery. His works are reminiscent of Rothko in their mood. I commend the exhibition for the way the pairs of works add to the narrative of each other. This effect assists the pieces in relating as a whole. A special exhibition: 'time' experienced and well-spent.
Reviewed and written by Janet Joyce
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