Tony Twigg

Expanded Discs
Taksu Gallery, Singapore
30 October – 15 November 2007

Moving between the space and the void might be one way of approaching the ten new paintings that make up Tony Twigg’s exhibition in Singapore, ‘Expanded Discs’. Hard edged, but spatially mobile, Twigg manipulates our perceptions of painting, as these works hover at the edge of two and three-dimensional space and demand a closer look. There are no static forms here—they move and jar in an optical illusion as the eye adjusts to the spaces in and around the forms. Designed to hang on a wall, the works are clearly sculptural in their fabrication—the spaces in-between become the focus while the organised structural elements provide a counter-point. ‘The function of the work is to activate space’ states Twigg in the exhibition brochure, and it does so relentlessly. Defined by his signature use of found, constructed and milled wood accentuated by oil and enamel colour, these new works use a new palette of lacquer reds, burnt sienna and defining black edges, and the pictures make clear modernist references that are sympathetic to an urban architectural environment.

These works are all compositions of vertical elements usually arranged in an oval form. For example, Expanded Disc Wave and Expanded Disc Spindles are based on a circle that has been sliced into vertical segments and spread apart. The resulting compositions rely heavily on the alternate juxtaposition of positive and negative space. In other works like Expanded Disc Slipped, the circle seems to expand and contract as it is viewed from various angles within the gallery. Expanded Disc Bark is one of the most evocative works in the exhibition with its curled edges finished with blue paint. Quintessentially Australian, this piece conjures up images of the coast, the sea, driftwood and travelling. In contrast, Expanded Disc Gone eliminates the circular structure and the viewer enters a more open, disconsolate space where the planes of wood stand upright in a jagged form. One of the most abstract pieces in the exhibition is 5 Black Sticks. It reflects on Twigg’s earlier body of work in Australia, yet shows an evolution from more narrative-based, figurative work to abstraction and the ‘embracing of the Asian found object’.

‘Expanded Discs’ concludes a year-long connection with Singapore in 2007 for Tony Twigg. He was included in a two-person show with Brad Munro in May, also at Taksu, and was featured by the gallery at the annual ArtSingapore—an art fair showcasing a diversity of contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific region. He has also completed three large-scale commissioned works in Singapore during the year, which highlights an intriguing aspect of his art—its apparent appropriateness to the contemporary environment of Singapore. The works in ‘Expanded Discs’ are implicitly architectural and in this context, they enter into a sympathetic dialogue about place and placement. ‘Our region is self-consciously post-colonial, increasingly urbanised and mobile’ comments Tony Twigg—in a way, the paintings in Expanded Discs contribute to an aesthetic understanding of this experience through charting modes of placement while referencing the rhythms of its fracturing.