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, March 19, 2010

Brad Lochore paintings at Two Rooms

Brad Lochore: Roughs
Two Rooms
11 March - 19 April 2010

London based / Wellington born painter Brad Lochore presents six white/pale grey paintings in the Two Rooms studio space just down Putiki Street from the Two Rooms gallery.

In the past Lochore has gained international recognition for his images of cast shadows from flimsy grids or plants. In this show he explores glossy reflection and the sagging surfaces of clear or white polythene, which he has placed on stretchers and photographed. He has then used the slides as a starting point for his paintings.

They are called ‘roughs’ because they are not brush-mark free, nor smoothly ‘photographic’. They are subtly painterly in the way Lochore has rendered the properties of a shiny surface raked over by light. Sometimes the polythene has stretch marks, little blips, tears or striations in lines, as if the soft plastic sheet has been stressed or pulled in opposite directions.

A couple of the paintings are so white and glary that they look more like cotton sheets than polythene. This is because the material dazzles in its entirety without catching reflections on any wrinkles. In other words they look freshly laundered, and without the twinkling highlights that come with shiny plastic.

Lochore is obviously fascinated by the nuances of illuminated surface that can be created through the manipulation of very pale greys, when carefully put in contrasting juxtapositions. He likes the restrained drama of scattered – but considered - specks and flicks that advance or retreat through the dominant picture plane of stretched, glossy and translucent skin, or skitter across it. Occasionally they seem to be landscapes in disguise, with bleached cloud formations over milky beaches and streaky seas.

This is intriguing work, an austere form of photorealism that flirts with monochromatic abstraction by replicating sheets of synthetic materials and lingering over properties of surface. These paintings are strangely beautiful and sensual, for all their insistent severity.

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