‘Interference with twigs’ investigates work that in some way appropriates, includes and utilises everyday material. The exhibition explores each artists’ interpretation of objects and their resulting relationship to still life. In doing so it brings into consideration art historical contexts: Pop, abstraction or minimalism, and how a memory of these histories are engaged with, but are approached within a new way of making and expressing.
This exhibition brings together for the first time two generations of artists including two pieces by Audrey Capel Doray (born 1931) from 1965, whose work here acts as a critical and historical backdrop for the show, forming a foundation in some ways to the numerous concerns being investigated in the work of Lotte Gertz, Hanna Sandin and Nicolas Party.
For Lotte Gertz (whose 2009 work lends its title to the exhibition), there is an immediate relationship to the making process, where an image requires a large amount of material exploration and unexpected solutions. The present work is rooted in collage, with images created from fragments of chopped up pieces of wood that have accumulated (some over years) recycled, cut and re-used. Almost like ready-mades inked up and printed, they are placed on the paper like pieces of sculpture.
Like Capel Doray, Gertz complicates and disguises ‘known’ elements and yet her use of repeated motifs that are so bold and present, they seem like objects that are real and recognised. The works in this exhibition are concerned with translating spatial elements such as sculpture and found objects into flat imagery whilst the use of dyed paper and fabric enjoy an informality contrasting these concerns.
Hanna Sandin’s practice is firmly rooted in abstraction and yet the visual vocabulary depends on a proliferation of innocuous consumer goods which are not quite disposable, but things seemingly endless in supply and demand, such as crab traps, the grill from a birdfeeder and a small motorcycle windshield, to name a few. These objects are not brought together for their function, indeed this is strongly denied as Sandin arranges them into mobile structures and minimal sculptural works.
In this context the elements are flattened into reductive forms and become compositions of line and colour. The choices then seem to be clear, that Sandin’s decisions come from seeing the objects in a pictorial sense as they are selected for their aesthetic and balancing qualities, so that they act as thought diagrams and sentences.
That Nicolas Party’s practice celebrates the traditional forms of representation, particularly that of painting and still life, is clear. Working with spray-painted murals and charcoal wall painting, intricate and intimate pencil drawings and large scale, multi-layered paintings, Party presents arrangements of over sized teapots, fruit, sausages and jugs. However like Capel Doray, Party offers visual triggers whilst simultaneously removing links to an understanding of representation. The complex environments that are created contain depictions of kitchen objects that do not actually exist and where space, perspective and depth are hard to understand, the objects themselves are highly stylized.
As with the bold visual statements of Pop, Party’s objects are not life like, but recognisable. However by creating these objects and not merely depicting pre-existing ones, Party has removed his practice from Pop’s association to commodity and kitsch and into a more disorientating representation. In the same way Sandin removes her objects from their function and their origin by moving them into purely form, shape and colour, Party creates images that are playful and absurd investigations into, and a homage to, still life and traditional painting today.
The two works by Audrey Capel Doray here are significant, as they form part of a body of work that saw a dramatic shift in her practice from only one year earlier, from abstract, lyrical painting and kinetic sculpture, to a more aggressive, graphic style. This series of works looked to the new concerns of Pop and Op Art and minimalism, all focuses of the local Vancouver art scene at the time, of which Capel Doray formed a vital part.
Her prints and works on canvas incorporate optical games, transformations of materials, collage, everyday materials such as lettering, numbers and stylized figurations. However, these recognisable symbols are reduced to purely form and colour, leaving them to exist as units of information and although there are references to folk art and traditional painting in these works, the end result presents a new investigation.