Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wollongong Art Gallery - Visions of Utopia

Currently showing at the Wollongong Art Gallery is Visions of Utopia curated by long time artist, educator and commentator Andrew Christofides.  The show comprises of work spanning over sixty years of Australian non objective art incorporating inspired and unexpected inclusions.  The show bursts with the sense of purpose and commitment to exploring the formal elements of picture making orchestrating the aspects of abstract visual phenomena to create a purity of image that is evocative and poetic without the limitations of drawing reference from the physical world.

Colour, composition, pattern and texture all come into play as vital ends in their own right where decisions are made through a predefined process and/or an instinctive in the moment response the last mark made.

This show asserts that there is precedent and tradition within the chronology and a reverence to their historical predecessors.

From Ralph Balson, a stunning Grace Crowley and a scene stealing Hector Gilliard right through to an array of current non objective and reductive artists of varying profiles each work has a standard that showcases the form in an exceptional light individually and collectively.  The breadth of the show illustrates the infinite options of visual elements that have been explored over the last half century.

Within the flow of the show works by Louise Blyton, Susan Andrew and Chris Firmstone are hung together to illustrate the possibilities of shapes as the works rather than just shapes within the work. John Aslanidis, William Rose and Leonard Crawford are grouped as works that have a sonic or musical /auditory premise.  David Serisier and Suzie Idiens sit alongside each other emphasizing contrasting approaches to surface, density and application and along with Blyton’s the intense expression of pure colour.

The essential thing here is to approach this show with an open mind.  Allow the visual interplays to engage you as you would an evocative piece of music.  To feel and absorb the deliciousness of the orchestration of colour, tone, texture, shape and rhythm in an almost subconscious state of mind is as rewarding as art viewing can be.

A good selection of other currently practicing artists that I’ve known and followed over the years is here.  Lynne Eastaway, Sandra Curry, Stephen Wickham, Virginia Coventry, Syd Ball whose practice links the generations from the sixties to the present and of course Andrew Christofides himself .

Visions of Utopia is currently showing at Wollongong Art Gallery till the 20th November before travelling to the Penrith Regional Gallery.

Glenn Locklee

3rd September - 20th November 2016