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Octopus 1 attempts to present the deterritorialisation of painting as an experimental site in contemporary life. The works of Michael Graeve, A.D.S Donaldson, Sandra Selig and Julia Gorman err toward mutation amid the aftermath of post modernity. There is a sense of entropy. Boundary conditions break up where limits touch; figure and ground, body and technology, time and space, culture and nature, identities and their milieu. These works slide toward nauseating optics. Operating through the interplay of light, colour, sound, digital imaging, architecture and pharmacology, they situate contemporary painting practice through a convulsive sense of space. Michael Graeve's installation, Frequency, rhythm and otherwise painted, 2000, continues the artist's consistent exploration of sound art and monochrome painting.
Occupying the corner margin of the front gallery space is a suite of twelve meticulously prepared oil-on-linen paintings.
They are tall and serialised with flat areas of plastic colour and painterly gestures deployed on the white gesso. Two speakers emit a sinewave recorded from an analogue synthesiser, approaching a stretched, pure sound without surface. Graeve's sound-art forms a synaesthetic murmur that intensifies the viewer's consciousness of the other works. Untitled 2000 , A.D.S Donaldson's horizontal canvas of strobing, red and yellow enamel, spray-paint flashes seems to approximate the pitch of Graeve's sound emissions. The five unbroken, stretched lines simultaneously join and separate, divide and gather the measure of the boundary condition where painting approximates a sound. Sandra Selig 's horizontal weave of cotton thread, Deep Time, 2000, hovers like a 'virtual' presence between the main gallery's architectural supports. The work conveys a sense of hyperspace where surface effects are mediated by technology. This fold has neither subject nor object, only determinations, magnitudes and dimensions that multiply illusion and the void of perception. Julia German's static pink and orange, insectoidrobotic, wall collage, A Piece of the Action, 2000, may approach the spatial dispossession described by Surrealist, Roger Caillos. By cutting and adhering sections of contact, Gorman maps a frontier where attraction is devouring and convulsive. Approaching figuration and abstraction, the work cleaves perception and representation, viewer and work. Like the process of mimicry in insects, the viewer's perception of the work alters with every movement. The work intimates that desireless drive toward indistinction of synthetic subjectivities. lt is regression beyond the infantile toward the inorganic. The works included in Octopus 1 express the extremities of a 'high modernist' visual drive to cancel the figure from its surrounding space and background. It’s a drive to form a continuous field that is unimaginable for the body to traverse , but into which the viewer's eye might easily slide-in an effortless, soaring, optical movement-toward a purified space that may dispense with the body and its lamentable drives. The viewer slips into the folded dimensions, depths and distances of this simulacral field – and risks disappearing into formlessness.