A personal reflection on Garry Currin’s recent exhibition
Milford Gallery, Dunedin
22 August – 16 September 2009
Garry Currin is a conjurer of the light from shadowed lands. His canvases show a parallel universe, or a futuristic view of our own, with all their layers and complexities exposed. They are startling in their freshness.
The intensity of his mark-making and colouration drew me straight into the picture plane and tugged at my unconscious mind. The onlooker needs to slow down, take stock, engage and think hard about the work. I felt as if I was transported in time and space, with no markers to tell me where I was. It was as strange to me as it was familiar—a half-remembered dream.
‘Trojan’ with its sense of abandonment hints at past and present violence. Telegraph poles with no wires are derelict relics scattered beyond a skeletal frame, reminiscent of a ship’s hull.
The roofs clustered in the foreground of ‘This distance’ suggest what is conscious and known. Land and time stretches away from these habitations into the hazy and unknown future. A promise of renewal underpins the works literally as yellowed light, splitting the textured layers of the molten surface.
I am reminded of a novel Maurice Gee wrote called ‘Salt’. In this story he shows a continuous cycle of colonisation and plunder of a rich port town and province. Due to greed and violence, the land previously coveted for its riches becomes damaged and worthless.
While this exhibition depicts a different dimension or reality, it should not be shelved as a fantasy of an impossible nature. The paintings contain a very real sense of possibility, a revelatory glimpse of the future.
This is not a passive space. A challenge is presented. Do we engage and participate, thus affecting the outcome—or remain as viewers enjoying the show?
Reviewed and written by Kathryn Taiaroa
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