Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Almost forgettable

Milli Jannides: Keeping Still
A Centre For Art
9 December - 24 December 2009 (and Jan and Feb by appointment)

Five small oil-painted canvases are currently displayed by Milli Jannides in the small ACFA space: five semi-figurative works on five walls.

Most of these are unresolved – works that are inappropriately small in relation to their marks, not cohesive as a group, and with their turps-washed underpainting not integrated with the fuller-bodied top layers. Many seem abandoned in mid-process, as if the artist has given up seeking any image that has compelling power.

Some contain whispers of famous artists Jannides seems to have been thinking about: Keeping Still has trees that speak of Mondrian, Thickets of Diebenkorn’s parks, Caresses of Howard Hodgkin. There is no decisive voice here; in fact the show oozes indecision and wavering – no clear purpose in the image structure. No consistent pattern of thought.

The best work is The Magician’s Assistant where we see bars of golden sunlight raking across a centrally positioned, wooden staircase. The ceiling is converted into a grey, vertically descending wall and brown walls on either side, when hit by the sun, seem to strangely dissolve into floors. Nevertheless, this roughly executed work intrigues with its warm glowing light. An exception.

Images courtesy of the artist and ACFA

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