Posts Tagged ‘john buckley gallery

18
Nov
09

Review: ‘Heavenly Vaults’ by David Stephenson at John Buckley Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 7th – 28th November 2009

 

David Stephenson. 'Nave, Laon Cathedral, Laon, France' 2006/07

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Nave, Laon Cathedral, Laon, France
2006/07

 

 

I remember many years ago, in the mid-1990’s, seeing the wonderful Domes of David Stephenson displayed in Flinders Lane in what is now fortfivedownstairs gallery. They were a revelation in this light filled space, row upon row of luminous domes seemingly lit from within, filled with the sense of the presence of divinity. On the opposite wall of the gallery were row upon row of photographs of Italian graves depicting the ceramic photographic markers of Italian dead – markers of the impermanence of life. The doubled death (the representation of identity on the grave, the momento mori of the photograph) slipped quietly into the earth while opposite the domes ascended into heaven through their numinous elevation. The contrast was sublime.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the latest exhibition Heavenly Vaults by David Stephenson at John Buckley Gallery, Richmond.

The problems start with the installation of the exhibition. As you walk into the gallery the 26 Cibachrome photographs are divided symmetrically down the axis of the gallery so that the prints reflect each other at both ends and each side of the gallery. It is like walking down the nave of a cathedral and observing the architectural restraint of the stained glass windows without their illumination. Instead of the punctum of light flooding through the stained glass windows, the varying of intensities, the equanimity of the square prints all exactly the same size, all reflecting the position of the other makes for a pedestrian installation. Some varying of the print size and placement would have added much life and movement to a static ensemble.

Another element that needed work were the prints themselves which, with a few notable exceptions, seemed remarkably dull and lifeless (unlike their digital reproductions which, paradoxically, seem to have more life!). They fail to adequately represent the aspirations of the vaults as they soar effortlessly overhead transposing the earth bound into the heaven sent. In the earlier work on the domes (which can be found in the book Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture) the symmetry of the mandala-like domes with their light-filled inner illumination worked well with the square format of the images making the photographs stand as equivalents for something else, other ineffable states of being.

“The power of the equivalent, so far as the expressive-creative photographer is concerned, lies in the fact that he can convey and evoke feelings about things and situations and events which for some reason or other are not or can not be photographed. The secret, the catch and the power lies in being able to use the forms and shapes of objects in front of the camera for their expressive-evocative qualities. Or to say this in another way, in practice Equivalency is the ability to use the visual world as the plastic material for the photographer’s expressive purposes. He may wish to employ the recording power of the medium, it is strong in photography, and document. Or he may wish to emphasize its transforming power, which is equally strong, and cause the subject to stand for something else too.”1

As Minor White further observes,

“When the image mirrors the man
And the man mirrors the subject
Something might take over”
2

 

When the distance between object and image and image and viewer collapses then something else may be revealed: Spirit.

In this exhibition some of the singular images such as the Crossings, Choirs and Nave of the Church of Santa Maria, Hieronymite Monastery, Belém, Portugal (see photograph below) work best to achieve this revelation. They transcend the groundedness of the earthly plane through their inner ethereal light using a reductive colour palette and strong highlight/shadow detail. Conversely the diptychs and triptychs of Nave and Choir (see photographs below and above) fail to impress. The singular prints pinned to the gallery wall are joined together to form pairs and trios but in this process the ‘space between’ the prints (mainly white photographic paper), the breathing space between two or more photographs that balances their disparate elements, the distance that Minor White calls ‘ice/fire’, does not work. There is no tension, no crackle, no visual crossover of the arches and vaults, spandrels and flutes. Here it is dead space that drags all down with it.

I found myself observing without engagement, looking without wonder or feeling – never a good sign!

The photographs of Domes and Vaults have served David Stephenson well for numerous years but the concept has become tired, the inspiration in need of refreshment through other avenues of exploration – both physical and spiritual.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to Daniel and John Buckley Gallery for allowing me to reproduce the photographs from the exhibition. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

  1. White, Minor. “Equivalence: The Perennial Trend,” in PSA Journal, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 17-21, 1963 [Online] Cited 08/05/2019
  2. White, Minor. “Three Canons,” from Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations. Viking Press, 1969

 

David Stephenson. 'Choir, Laon Cathedral, Laon, France' 2006/07

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Choir, Laon Cathedral, Laon, France
2006/07

 

David Stephenson. 'St. Hugh’s Choir, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, England' 2006/07

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
St. Hugh’s Choir, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln, England
2006/07

 

 

Installation view of Heavenly Vaults by David Stephenson at John Buckley Gallery, Richmond

 

David Stephenson. 'Nave, Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic' 2008/09

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Nave, Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
2008/09

 

David Stephenson. 'Choir, Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic' 2008/09

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Choir, Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
2008/09

 

 

“While the subject of my photographs has shifted…my art has remained essentially spiritual – furthermore than two decades I have been exploring a contemporary expression of the sublime – a transcendental experience of awe with the vast space and time of existence.”

.
David Stephenson

 

 

Internationally renowned photographer David Stephenson has dedicated his practice to capturing the sublime in nature and architecture. Fresh from a successful exhibition at Julie Saul Gallery in New York, Stephenson returns to John Buckley Gallery for his third highly anticipated exhibition Heavenly Vaults. The exhibition will feature 26 selected prints from his latest monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press; Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture. Shaun Lakin, Director of the Monash Gallery of Art, will launch the book and exhibition at the opening, November 7th.

Stephenson began to photograph Gothic vaults in Spain and Portugal in 2003, while completing the work for his Domes project, and his first monograph Visions of Heaven: the Dome in European Architecture. He began to focus on the Vaults project in 2006, photographing Gothic churches and cathedrals in England, Belgium and France. With the assistance of an Australia Council Artist Fellowship in 2008-09, Stephenson completed extensive fieldwork for the Vaults project, intensively photographing Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. The exhibition at John Buckley Gallery coincides with the launch of his second monograph, Heavenly Vaults: from Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture, published by Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

Even though the traditional systems the underpinned church architecture have lost their unequivocal power, David Stephenson’s photographs capture the resonance of those times. More importantly his work also suggest that the feelings of aspiration, transcendence, and infinity these buildings evoke in the viewer have an ongoing relevance beyond the religious setting and help us understand who and what we are.

Excerpt from Foreword, Heavenly Vaults, by Dr Isobel Crombie 2009

.
David Stephenson’s new book of photography is a love letter to the intricate, seemingly sui generis vaults of Europe’s Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and churches.

Press release from the John Buckley website [Online] Cited 11/11/2009 no longer available online

 

David Stephenson. 'Nave, Church of Santa Maria, Hieronymite Monastery, Belém, Portugal' 2008/09

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Nave, Church of Santa Maria, Hieronymite Monastery, Belém, Portugal
2008/09

 

 

‘While the subject of my photographs has shifted from the landscapes of the American Southwest and Tasmania, and the minimal horizons of the Southern Ocean, and the icy wastes of Antarctica, to sacred architecture and the sky at both day and night, my art has remained essentially spiritual – for more than two decades I have been exploring a contemporary expression of the sublime – a transcendental experience of awe with the vast space and time of existence.’

David Stephenson 1998.1

With poetic symmetry the Domes series considers analogous ideas. It is a body of work which has been ongoing since 1993 and now numbers several hundred images of domes in countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, England, Germany and Russia. The typological character of the series reveals the shifting history in architectural design, geometry and space across cultures and time, demonstrating how humankind has continually sought meaning by building ornate structures which reference a sacred realm.2 Stephenson photographs the oculus – the eye in the centre of each cupola. Regardless of religion, time or place, this entry to the heavens – each with unique architectural and decorative surround – is presented as an immaculate and enduring image. Placed together, the photographs impart the infinite variations of a single obsession, while also charting the passage of history, and time immemorial.

1. Van Wyk, S. 1998. “Sublime space: photographs by David Stephenson 1989-1998,” National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne np
2. Hammond, V. 2005. “The dome in European architecture,” in Stephenson, D. 2005, Visions of heaven: the dome in European architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, New York p. 190

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955) 'Choir, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, England' 2006/07

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Choir, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England
2006/07

 

David Stephenson. 'Crossing, York Minster, York, England' 2006/07

 

David Stephenson (Australian born America 1955)
Crossing, York Minster, York, England
2006/07

 

 

John Buckley Gallery

This gallery is now closed.

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

26
Aug
09

Review: ‘Symmetrical Spirit Guides and Fractal Alchemy’ by Carl Scrase at John Buckley Gallery, Richmond, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 19th August – 5th September 2009

 

Carl Scrase 'Fractal Alchemy' installation view 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy installation view
2009

 

 

This is a slight exhibition of collages and constructions by Carl Scrase at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne. Ironically, given the nature of the catalogue essay by Tai Snaith (see below) that waxes lyrical about the mystery and magic of symmetry, synchronicity and spirit, this exhibition lacks the depth of purpose needed to address spiritual elements that are the very basis of human existence.

The biomorphic forms that go to make up the work Fractal Alchemy (2009) fair better in this regard, the various size bull dog clips offering nonrepresentational patterns that resemble living organisms and genetic structures in shape and appearance. At their best these elemental shapes start to transcend form and function to become something else: an instinctive and intuitive connection to the inherent fold in the universe, like the embedded pattern, the DNA template in a blank piece of paper before the folding of the origami model. Unfortunately the wonder of this piece is short-lived. Unlike the ever magical repetition of fractal geometry with its inherent iteration of forms that constantly a/maze, here the shapes are not stretched far enough, the exposition not grounded in broken or fractured forms that invite alchemical awareness in the viewer.

The collages are less successful in this mystery project. Made from cut-up images from magazines these symmetrical constructions lack spiritual presence. Like the aspired to symmetrical beauty of a human face it is, paradoxically, the irregularities of the human face that are their most attractive feature – our individuality. In the photographic stereoscopes of Victorian landscapes it is the difference between the left and right image that adds three-dimensional depth in the eye of the viewer, that transports them to other places, other worlds. In the collages of  Picasso it is the irregularities that also transport the viewer into a hypertextural, hypertextual world of wonder. Scrase’s collages on the other hand, are flat, rigidly symmetrical life-less things that belie their stated aim – to be kaleidoscopic spirit guides in search of a pattern for inner peace. Although some of their forms are attractive their is no wonder, no my-story to be gleaned here.

Overall the work lacks the gravitas and sense of fun in and through the act of creation that the concepts require: to see things clearly and to ground this visualisation in objects that transcend ‘now’ and extend spirit into the eternal. These constructions do not stand as ‘equivalents’ for other states of consciousness, of being-in-the-world, nor do they offer a re-velatio where they open up ‘poetic spaces’ in which the alienation and opposition of inside and outside, of objectivity and subjectivity are seen to be disconnected. The Japanese ‘ma’, the interval which gives substance to the whole, is missing.

To express deep inner emotions and connection to spirit requires utmost focus on their expression-in-the-world, a releasement from ego and a layering of materials and form that transport the object and viewer into an’other’ plane of existence. Unfortunately this work falls short of this state of no-desire.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to John Buckley Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy installation view
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' (detail) 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy (detail)
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' (detail) 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy (detail)
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' (detail) 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy (detail)
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' (detail) 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy (detail)
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Fractal Alchemy' (detail) 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Fractal Alchemy (detail)
2009

 

 

“Carl Scrase is a perfect example of an artist marking the turn of a tide. At this distinct ebb of the ravenous, rampant seas of consumption and production we’ve been surfing for the past couple of hundred years and with the onset of the new flow, towards the riptide of Mayan prophesies of fast approaching 2012, Carl is on it, or should I say in it. And he’s splashing around.

This new generation of creative humans (to which Carl belongs) are not really concerned with how much money, time or status something is worth, or what kind of flashy object the human next to them owns. They seem to be more interested in what kind of wisdom can be procured, how many friends can be found and how a thing can be recycled or was born from something else. It is all about a search for the spirit, the feeling. Moreover, what it means. We are getting sick of the bland smog of consumerism, the stench of blatant big business and seem to be looking for escape pointers, for enlightenment, for answers and for CHANGE.

Carl’s work suggests his role as an artist is almost akin to a kind of medium slash alchemist – a self-proclaimed, new-age, anonymous shaman of sorts. Big boots to fill indeed, but don’t worry, its not like Carl is about to declare himself a Secret Chief and start welcoming in the new Golden Dawn or reading your tarot at openings. Nor is he concerned with the alchemical properties and behaviour of inorganic compounds or scientific explanations or measurements of the planets. His interest lies in noticing the sparkling mist of questions surrounding these things. The mystery and magic of how these marvels, such as symmetry and synchronicity occur in nature and how we can possibly learn from them and experience them in our day-to-day lives.

A true spiritualist in an atheist age, Carl uses his work as a kind of cipher for sorting his beliefs via a material creative process. His collages begin with found images from magazines, chosen relatively arbitrarily. His sculptures begin in a similar fashion with found objects, usually of the mundane or mass produced variety. It may be that they are all parts of images of human faces or just a complete add for a pair of Crocs or a hundred boxes of bull dog clips. Starting with the colour and then cutting the shape, or with the objects and then finding their natural function- almost as if listening to an instinctive, visual Ouija board somewhere in his subconscious. Carl then arranges the pieces through play. Similar to the way that you need to relax your eyes to receive the effects of a Magic Eye picture (remember them?), Carl relaxes his mind in order to let his collages find their final composition. This allows a kind of subconscious code to come forward, thus acting as both a reflection of his thoughts but also a kind of guide or suggestion for other’s thoughts, and perhaps something deeper that we don’t understand just yet.

I remember as a child I found an empty plastic tubular casing of a biro pen whilst walking along the beach one day. It had been washed and scratched by the ocean and gave the pale blue, semi-translucent plastic a soft almost sparkly effect. I picked it up and instinctively looked through the tiny tunnel at the sun. The way the sunlight refracted through the plastic before reaching my retina made me think of a magical kaleidoscope and I immediately classified it as having ‘special powers’, granting it prime position in my pocket for months. It became a type of personal talisman or spirit guide.

Traditionally, in animist belief systems (such as Shinto and certain parts of Hinduism) sprits need either an object or a medium (ie, thunder, lightening, wind, animals, plants, etc) to be experienced or seen by humans. They need something else to exist in order to communicate with us. Carl’s images and objects seem to suggest or demonstrate this kind of medium as well as subtly questioning the message. In the same way that a child finds wonder in the changing symmetry of a Kaleidoscope before they even understand the science of the mirror involved, there is a wonder in these images and objects as soon as we encounter them. A wonder in creation, in ritual, in synchronicity and light. A wonder in life.

For Carl, the practice of Alchemy (and in this instance one might just as comfortably read Alchemy as Art) is ‘not the search for some magic potion’ but rather the ‘awareness that all life is eternal and the inner peace that comes from that realisation’. Just as we recognise similar patterns within nature, like the spiral formation of a shell or the layering of petals on a flower or the direction of the hair growing on a man’s scalp, we can notice these patterns on a spiritual and philosophical plane also. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise a similar search for meaning and self-realisation being revisited amongst some of the most interesting artists of our time, but let’s just hope that the search continues to prove that the process of making art itself is both the question and the answer.”

Tai Snaith
 2009

Text from the John Buckley website [Online] Cited 20/08/2009 no longer available online

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983) 'Spiritguide 090501' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090501
2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983) 'Spiritguide 090624' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090624
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Spiritguide 090504' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090504
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Spiritguide 090509' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090509
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Spiritguide 090520' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090520
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Spiritguide 090601' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090601
2009

 

Carl Scrase. 'Spiritguide 090617' 2009

 

Carl Scrase (Australian, b. 1983)
Spiritguide 090617
2009

 

 

John Buckley Gallery

This gallery is now closed.

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

03
Jun
09

Review: ‘John Beard: After Image’ paintings at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 20th May – 6th June, 2009

 

John Beard. 'Darwin' 2009

 

John Beard
Darwin
2009

 

 

The final exhibition of the afternoon were the ephemeral images of John Beard at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne. This was an enthralling show that I enjoyed tremendously. Beard draws in a multitude of cultural sources for his paintings often referencing painters, scientists, animals and evolution. His work has an intimate sense of knowing, a meditative mediation on the essence of the object being painted, the very presence of the thing itself. The marks on the canvas may be intuitive but it is an informed intuition that results in works that hover at the edge of consciousness. As much as the works are after images, or ghost images, they are also about the persistence of vision, the persistence of the artists vision in addressing issues of collective memory and cultural history that draw emotive responses from the viewer.

These images may be ‘on the verge of disappearance’ as an after-image but they are also pre-images as well, conjured from the mind of the artist and layered with complexity, presence and holistic wholeness. Their seduction, if I may use that word, is that they draw from the viewer peripheral memories and emotions that flit at the edges of consciousness. As Portugese curator Isabel Carlos has noted, … Beard recreates a ‘figural’ space where the essence of the thing represented lies beyond its singular physical evidence.”1

Beard’s fragmented surfaces form a rhizomic web of dissolved pixellation, their structure almost fractal like in their linked hyper-real intimacies. These in between spaces open up the possibility of subversive commentaries that, on one level, bring a sense of disquiet to the holistic presence of the work. As Mark Poster has noted of the work of Deleuze and Guittari and which can be aptly applied to the work of John Beard,

“Deleuze and Guittari configure the social as a complex of bodily intensities in a state of continuous nonlinear movement. The logic they present is multidimensional, shifting, discontinuous. They speak of strata, assemblages, territorializations, lines of flight, abstract machines, a congerie of terms that disrupts the function of concepts to control a field through discursive articulations. Their categories cut through the normal lines of comprehension, the binary logic that governs modern social theory to present a picture of reality from the perspective of a sort of primitive life force. It is as if the earth itself were to describe the changes on its surface in the course of human history, a vantage point quote remote from the ego of the individual or from the disciplined consciousness of the social scientist.”2

.
Nonlinear, logical, shifting territorializations in multidimensional environments that hover below the edge of consciousness, investigations into the binary of presence/absence in the dreams of the imaginary. Powerful and poetic these works irradiate the viewer with their visceral presence.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to John Buckley Gallery for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

  1. Isabel Carlos quoted in Wright, William. HEADLANDS: John Beard works 1993 – 2008. Catalogue essay
  2. Poster, Mark. The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990, pp. 135-137

 

John Beard. 'Gorilla' 2007

 

John Beard
Gorilla
2007

 

John Beard. 'After image' installation at John Buckley Gallery

 

Installation view of John Beard’s exhibition After image at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne

 

John Beard. 'Hand 6' 2009

 

John Beard
Hand 6
2009

 

John Beard. 'Head SP3' 2004

 

John Beard
Head SP3
2004

 

 

“Beard’s paintings often convey an overpowering sense of brooding stillness, but equally this volatile effervescence of light-reverberant phenomena, where head, headland, the Adraga rock, are no longer object so much as apparition, a painted parallel existence, a material presence invoking nature’s own organic processes …

There is a distinctive sense when encountering a body of John Beard’s works of entering into a site of composure, withheld, of images silently bespeaking truths both personal and historical; hovering presences each conveying some species quality of time-less recognition.”

William Wright 
from the catalogue essay HEADLANDS: John Beard works 1993 – 2008 [Online] Cited 29/05/2009 no longer available online

 

John Beard. 'Rose' 2007

 

John Beard
Rose
2007

 

John Beard. 'Einstein 2' 2009

 

John Beard
Einstein 2
2009

 

John Beard. 'Rembrandt' 2009

 

John Beard
Rembrandt
2009

 

 

John Buckley Gallery

This gallery is now closed.

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

01
May
09

Review: ‘triestement (more-is u thrill-o)’ exhibition by Domenico De Clario at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22nd April – 9th May 2009

 

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
u (renoir’s garden)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

 

Based on the music of melancholy that inhabits the shadows of the paintings of Montmarte by the French artist Maurice Utrillo, Domenico de Clario’s exhibition of paintings at John Buckley Gallery in Melbourne is a major achievement. This is a superlative exhibition of focused, resonant work beautifully and serenely installed in the gallery space.

The exhibition features seven small and seven large oil and acrylic on canvas paintings that envelop the viewer in a velvety quietness, an intense stillness accompanied by ambient music composed by de Clario himself. All fourteen paintings are reinterpretations of works by Utrillo picked at random by de Clario that strip away surface matter to reveal the shadow substance that lays at the anxious heart of Utrillo’s meta/physical body of work (Utrillo was an alcoholic at fourteen and spent numerous periods in sanatoriums). When de Clario was fifteen he was fascinated by a small book on Utrillo and found that his paintings reminded him of his childhood, growing up in the town of Trieste. Recently he noticed that the word ‘triestement’ was used to mean, essentially, an investigation of sadness, of melancholy and started an investigation into the life and work of Utrillo. From this dialogue the paintings for the exhibition have emerged as de Clario found the ‘more is’ of Utrillo, the anima of his presence within the work.

The small abstract paintings (such as renoir’s garden, above) are dark and miasmic, vaporous emanations of atmosphere that contain traces of Utrillo’s lifelong battle with the black dog but it is the seven large paintings facing each other in the main gallery space that are at the heart of de Clario’s project. They are magnificent.

Painted in a limited colour palette of ochres, greys and blacks the works vibrate with energy. Cezanne-like spatial representations are abstracted and the paint bleeds across the canvas forming a maze of buildings. Walls and hedges loom darkly over roadways, emanations of heads and figures float in the picture plane and the highlight white of snow hovers like a spectral figure above buildings. These are elemental paintings where the shadow has become light and the light is shadow, meanderings of the soul in space. In the painting i (the house of hector berlioz – night) below, the single dark line of the house rises from the plain; the shadowy haze of recognition sits in the subconscious like the trace of our own mortality. My mind made an association with the modernist photograph by Paul Strand of the church at Taos with the looming bulk of the ramparts: it’s funny how things just click into place.

“The watergaw, the faint rainbow glimmering in chittering light, provides a sort of epiphany, and MacDiarmid connects the shimmer and weakness and possible revelation in the light behind the drizzle with the indecipherable look he received from his father on his deathbed … Each expression, each cadence, each rhyme is as surely and reliably in place as a stone on a hillside.” ~ Seamus Heaney1

.
To paint these works de Clario was open and receptive to the idea of the letting go. In the wonderfully erudite catalogue essay he says he felt like he was standing under a waterfall experiencing the joyful bliss of substance, material, surface, shadow, blandness, light, plenitude and triestement while acknowledging that he could never capture them and that their value could only be fully understood once he abandoned any thought of possessing them. Like Seamus Heaney in the quotation above, de Clario experienced the glimmering in chittering light, the possible revelation in the light behind the drizzle (of the shadow) and he then paints the trace of Utrillo’s subconscious anima, the indecipherable look of his triestement. de Clario feels the fluid relationship between substance and appearance; he understands that Utrillo is embedded in the position of each building and stone, in the cadences and rhymes of the paintings of Montmarte. de Clario interprets this knowledge in a Zen like rendition of shadow substance in his paintings. Everything has it’s place without possession of here and there, dark and light.

For my part it was my soul responding to the canvases. I was absorbed into their fabric. As in the dark night of the soul my outer shell gave way to an inner spirituality stripped of the distance between viewer and painting. I felt communion with this man, Utrillo, with this art, de Clario, that brought a sense of revelation in the immersion, like a baptism in the waters of dark light. For art this is a fantastic achievement. Highly recommended.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

.
Please click on the artwork for a larger version of the image.

 

  1. Heaney, Seamus. The Redress of Poetry. London: Faber and Faber, 1995, pp. 107-108.

 

 

Domenico de Clario. 'l (le lapin agile - snow coming)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
l (le lapin agile – snow coming)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

Maurice Utrillo. 'Renoir's Garden' 1909-10

 

Maurice Utrillo (French, 1883-1955)
Renoir’s Garden
1909-10
Oil on canvas

 

Installation view of 'triestement (more-is u thrill-o)' by Domenico De Clario at John Buckley Gallery

Installation view of 'triestement (more-is u thrill-o)' by Domenico De Clario at John Buckley Gallery

 

Installation views of triestement (more-is u thrill-o) by Domenico De Clario at John Buckley Gallery

 

Maurice Utrillo. 'Paris Street' 1914

 

Maurice Utrillo (French, 1883-1955)
Paris Street
1914
Oil on canvas

 

Domenico de Clario. 'r (rue ravignan - le bateau lavoir)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
r (rue ravignan – le bateau lavoir)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

Domenico de Clario. 'l (le lapin agile and rue du mont cenis - snow receding)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
l (le lapin agile and rue du mont cenis – snow receding)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

Domenico de Clario. 'o (la grande maison blanche – snow clouds massing)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
o (la grande maison blanche – snow clouds massing)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

 

“Is there any limit, I thought, to the kinds of shadows that might be transmuted into light? And is this because the key component of the nature of shadow is its deep longing for a transmutation to light?

As a consequence of these thoughts I arrived at the question that animates the core of this current project; what, I asked myself, might the original shadow-substance Utrillo experienced and subsequently transmutes into the paintings we known, have looked like? What shadow images did Utrillo first see, or even imagine, before he transmuted them into colour? …

Utrillo must have believed that the outer world of coloured light belonged exclusively to others, for he never succeeded in releasing himself from the dark inner shadows that engulfed him. Though he struggled much to reach the light he accepted shadow as constituting his world and worked ceaselessly to offer us images that reflected this side’s plenitude.

Perhaps the luminous surfaces of his paintings functioned as the thin membrane that separates the outer world of cacophonously coloured light from the velvety grey inner world of the monotic anxiety he inhabited. Upon that thought the momentousness of his gift became apparent to me …

For the purposes of this present project I believe that the shadow substance laying beneath the architecture of Utrillo’s streetscapes existed within the artist long before his paintings came into being. This non-substance generated the appearance of matter on the paintings’ surfaces and more significantly it gradually came to contain the spirit of his Montmarte-body.

The process of removing matter results in an obvious absence of substance but paradoxically this leads me to feel that here, under all this discarded visible matter, an invisible substance that has always contained more than matter awaits to be revealed. This leads to the provisional conclusion that the primal trace of normally unseen shadow is far richer than any material constituting appearance, containing as it does infinitely more substance than appearance.

Astonishing paradox; infinite substance can only be discovered once all matter is removed.”

Text from the catalogue essay by Domenico de Clario [Online] Cited 26/04/2009 no longer available online

 

Maurice Utrillo. 'Berlioz House' 1910

 

Maurice Utrillo (French, 1883-1955)
Berlioz House
1910
Oil on canvas

 

Postcard of Hector Berlioz House nd

 

Anonymous
Postcard of Hector Berlioz House
Nd

 

Domenico de Clario. 'i (the house of hector berlioz - night)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
i (the house of hector berlioz – night)
2008/09
Oil on canvas

 

Paul Strand. Inverted colour burn of his photograph 'Church, Ranchos de Taos' New Mexico 1932

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Inverted colour burn of his photograph Church, Ranchos de Taos New Mexico 1932

 

 

John Buckley Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

03
Apr
09

Around the galleries: Derek O’Connor at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Peter Cole ‘Elements + Memories’ at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne

April 2009

 

In a mad dash around town I managed to see the Derek O’Connor and Peter Cole exhibitions before they finished and also the Siri Hayes En Plein Air exhibition of photographs at Gallerysmith (see next post).

Marcus

.
Please click on the art work for a larger version of the image.

 

Derek O’Connor paintings at Karen Woodbury Gallery

An intense show of small oil paintings that really draw you into their composition. They are paintings of tremendous energy and layering, the surface being in a constant state of flux. The paintings become metaphors for the bodies existence in space, corporeal landscapes full of sensation ‘neither rational nor cerebral’. They become a mediation and a meditation upon life itself – complex, convulsive, concentrated energy that focuses the viewers attention so that they cannot look away.

 

Derek O'Connor. 'Horizontal' 2008

 

Derek O’Connor
Horizontal
2008

 

Derek O'Connor. 'Horizontal' 2008

 

Derek O’Connor
Horizontal
2008

 

 

“Working with his tools of palette knives and brushes, he sets into motion a train of repetitions, of speeds and slowness1 applying and scrapping paint away in an attempt to move from a position of not knowing towards knowing. He brings … an intense physical and mental awareness to the rhythms of his own movements, his own body. At such moments time seems to expand – to become infinite.

In erasing from his project the world of appearances, Derek O’Connor embraces something else – the realm of ‘sensation’. Sensation is an open painterly expression which resists definition. The Modernist painter Paul Cezanne described sensation as a “logic of the senses” which is neither rational nor cerebral2 … For Derek, the subject of his painting appears to be the act of making itself. Here subject and object collapse (folding into itself) so that sensation is experienced through the materiality of paint, via the movements of the artists’ body to affect the bodies of others.”

Paul Uhlmann from the catalogue essay

 

  1. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. A Thousand Plateaus. London: Continuum, 1987, pp. 292-300
  2. Deleuze, G. The Logic of Sensation. London: Continuum, 2003, p. 42

 

Derek O' Connor. 'Irregular' 2008

 

Derek O’Connor
Irregular
2008

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has closed.

 

 

Peter Cole ‘Elements + Memories’ at John Buckley Gallery 18th March – 9th April 2009

A decidedly underwhelming show by Peter Cole at John Buckley Gallery only redeemed by the amazing Elemental Landscape series of 64 small sculptural pieces displayed as a frieze (see below). The large free standing sculptural works fail to impress with their minimalist Ikea-esque cut out style – especially when viewed from the rear of the work. One would have thought that a sculptor, making several free standing pieces that are going to be walked around in a gallery space, would have designed the work to be viewed ‘in the round’. As it is all the perfection of the clinical front of the works is undone by brackets and screws holding the whole thing together when viewed from the flattened rump. This is pretty, surface work that lacks substance and insight, pretty shapes and cut outs and targets that allude to memory but are just stylised glossy magazine representations of it.

On the other hand the Elemental Landscape series of sculptures is just magical – playful, ever inventive, wonderfully contemporary, beautifully resolved in concept and manufacture, in their use and bending of geometric shapes, the sculptures really are fantastic when seen ‘in situ’ as a whole. Visit the exhibition just to see this work – buy some pieces and make your own elemental landscape!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Peter Cole. 'Elements + Memories' installation views at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne

 

Peter Cole
Elements + Memories installation views at John Buckley Gallery, Melbourne (first and second image)
Bar 4 – Shibuya 2009 (third image)
Garden – Yoyogi 2009 (fourth image)

 

 

“In Peter D Cole’s stunning and ambitious exhibition Elements + Memories he creates a playful interactive work titled Elemental Landscape. Utilising his highly stylised modernist and reductionist technique – influenced at an early age by studies of Miro and Calder – Cole presents 64 small sculptural pieces of varying colour and shape of which the audience is encouraged to create their own compositions. Cole also presents three large-scale sculptures drawing on memories of his times in Japan.

Cole’s distinct skill of distilling the landscape and architecture into separate elements and symbols is in itself evocative of traditional minimal Japanese aesthetic and he has created a series of works which draw upon Japanese interiors and streetscapes and the gardens of the Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom festival).”

Text from John Buckley Gallery website [Online] Cited 01/04/2009 (no longer available online)

 

Peter Cole. 'Elemental Landscape' 2009

Peter Cole. 'Elemental Landscape' 2009

Peter Cole. 'Elemental Landscape' 2009

Peter Cole. 'Elemental Landscape' 2009

 

Peter Cole
Elemental Landscape
2009

 

 

John Buckley Gallery

This gallery has closed.

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top




Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

Join 2,611 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

March 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Archives

Categories