Art Scene: July 22

The Well, by Tara Meredith
The Well, by Tara Meredith
"Hemlock Grove", Anya Sinclair and Tara Meredith

(Olga Gallery)

Hemlock Grove is a dark place. Menacing blooms loom from the depths of the undergrowth, and strange, earthy figures gather in arcane circles to perform their esoteric acts.

Such, at least, is the ethos of Anya Sinclair and Tara Meredith’s exhibition at Olga Gallery. It is Meredith who provides the sinister figures and Sinclair who cloaks them in dark blooms in the display.

Sinclair’s work consists of four loose unstretched canvases, each showing dull sepulchral flowers against a near-black background.

The images are primitive and painterly, and a million miles from the glowing colours and dripping forms of the artist’s earlier overgrown gardens.

Within these surroundings stand Meredith’s small sculptural forms.

In her debut exhibition, the artist has presented a series of human and animal figures and several accompanying vases and related vessels, all finished with a gritty, sand-like surface.

As such, the pieces seem to be hewn from stone rather than fired clay, giving them both a timelessness and a solidity which might otherwise have been lacking. The odd, mis-shapen vessels (such as The Well) have a memorable distinctness.

Figures such as Olga and Lars are as charming as they are mysterious, and there is a wry humour to the pair of Vermin that accompany them.

Small Lattice No. 98, by Ian Scott
Small Lattice No. 98, by Ian Scott
"Lattices 1977-2010", Ian Scott

(Milford Gallery)

Ian Scott has honed a decades-long exploration of geometrical abstraction into an extended series of works focusing on the lattice.

In the current exhibition at Milford Gallery, the artist’s explorations have been assembled into a retrospective of 33 years of works ranging from the flamboyantly colourful to the minimalist. Through the course of the exhibition, we can see the artist’s experimentation and realisation of his theme. This begins with a pair of 1977 works in which the pattern is an extended grid, still approaching the latticework which would form the heart of the series.

It is with the work from 1978 to the mid-1980s that the signature forms appear, at once acknowledging pure abstraction and traditional forms from both Europe and the Pacific. Colours literally weave in and out of one another in a series of bright raranga-like patterns before dropping away into the impressive, austere Lattice No. 115, in which form alone carries the strength of the work.

Works from the 2000s see the artist playing with his earlier forms, presenting them jarringly off-kilter, or as a seemingly incomplete array. In several pieces - such as Lattice No. 385 — the simplicity of 1978’s Lattice No. 35 is revisited and reassessed to reveal an entirely different view of ostensibly the same pattern.

Dogs on the Ute, by Harriet Millar
Dogs on the Ute, by Harriet Millar
"Chroma", Various artists

(The Artist’s Room)

Five artists come together in ‘‘Chroma’’ at The Artist’s Room. As the name suggests, the original concept was to focus on colour, and although some of the artists have worked with a more muted palette, the works complement each other well.

Nick Eggleston and Ellie Gray’s work is well known to regular Artist’s Room visitors. Eggleston, whose watercolours largely focus on happy tattooed dogs, has provided three works, the star of which is a tongue-in-cheek jousting rabbit, sitting on a pig. In stark contrast, Gray’s crystal-like architectural abstractions provide a touch of cool calm with their seemingly three-dimensional patterns of acrylic.

Two Harriets (Millar and Leonard) provide the majority of the painted works on display. Harriet Millar’s pastoral scenes are painted with a strong flowing brush which well captures the feel and textures of southern farmland. Harriet Leonard, in her first major exhibition, presents a series of abstracts, created with a childlike innocence using a personal language of bright forms and shapes against a clear white background, resulting in warm, friendly pieces.

Elsie Fourie adds a sculptural element to the show with a series of impressive vases and figures ranging from the cubist Tui to the Modiglianiesque Be Nice. The artist’s Fishermen are among the highlights of the show.


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