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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Locked in tight or floating free

Noel Ivanoff: Levigation
Jacquie Ure: Pink Noise
Randolph St Gallery, 26 Randolph St, Newton
21 October – 31 November 2008

This is a clever pairing of two painters at the Whitecliffe Art College gallery, for both apply pigmenty substances in different, but nonetheless connected, ways. You see the precise movement of the application tool in both cases, and witness the thin (transparent) paint in the centre with thicker opaque colour at the margins.

Noel Ivanoff uses a circular grinding tool that applies, mixes and grinds pigment with binder all at the same time; Jacquie Ure uses a carefully controlled brush to paint rectangular bars or thin lines. Ivanoff uses one colour only; Ure uses several.

To create his paintings, Ivanoff applies onto sheets of dacron overlapping discs of squelchy cadmium orange in long rows or columns that double back and forth until the sheet is filled. In contrast to Ivanoff’s ordered, very regular system, Ure uses that of ‘pink noise’ – structuring between order and chaos, but leaning towards order: her grids of different coloured brushmarks almost don’t overlap, her horizontal lines of vertical brushstrokes almost line up at their tops, in graphlike lines they almost follow an even trajectory.

As compositions Ivanoff’s rectangles seep over the edges of the table shape on which they were made, creating an intriguing very compact tension, with rows of internally stacked crescent shapes. That is an important part of their appeal. In comparison, Ure is not interested in edges or shaped dynamics that press against them. Her pale forms float indifferently on a support that holds them as if they could be rendered on the walls or on air itself. They exert no palpable pressure or weight, only hover – like butterflies searching for a net to hold them in.

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