A review of Nell Nutsford's recent exhibition
La Mezz Gallery, Hamilton
17 September - 10 October
Nell Nutsford stretches boundaries and revives the painting experience in her recent exhibition Pink Gravity. The artist presents a collection of 14 self-formed viscoelastic paint sculpted pieces and digital photographs documenting their creation process. This playful abstraction explores the force gravity exerts on paint and in doing so becomes an experiment in contemporary painting theory as the position of object, field and space are questioned.
Nutsford implores us to re-examine our expectations of paint. Pink Gravity’s sculptural content consists of two processes: twelve Gravity Sculptures and two Inverse Plaster Moulds. Viscosity and paint mechanics become larger determining factors in their creation than the artist herself. These brightly coloured sponge or coral-like forms metaphorically support contemporary debate as to the nature and definition of painting itself.
Nutsford uses micro-documentation to illustrate the sculptures’s unsustainable nature during formation amplifying bizarre and curious instances of paint’s behaviour. These enlargements often evoke a visceral element; Yellow, particularly stunning is reminiscent of a blood cell albeit a yellow one. In many of these photographic images Nutsford rotates what would be considered ‘normal’ deliberately disturbing gravity’s pervasive nature. 'Silver III' presents enlarged silvery forests while the series 'White I, White II and White III' are a glutinous sticky white chocolate display. These explorations are likened to scientific experiments whereby the conclusions dictate further tests and hypotheses.
Nutsford crosses from the arts to the sciences and back again to philosophy as she investigates the materiality of paint. Her analyses echo the great discoverers and schools of theological thought who wrestled with sovereignty and free will. Indeed her bibliography acknowledges the work of Yves-Alain Bois and Hubert Damisch’s anti-Sartrean thought examining the existence of God and our conscious painting with or without his involvement. The serious reading of Pink Gravity invites the spectator to be thoroughly challenged.
Reviewed and written by Emily Hill
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