Journal

Nicola Farquhar – Folded Eyes at Hopkinson Mossman

Doing my regular gallery sweep along the K Road I come across an intense little show of Nicola Farquhar portraits at Hopkinson Mossman. And I’m not using the word little in a pejorative way.

Up the stairs, through the doorway into the large light filled gallery and I’m confronted by a much smaller space. Ten brightly coloured works hang in the confined space, and with their garish colours and brash marks they make for an abrupt visual assault.

Looking from work to work I know it takes my eyes a while to adjust, to grasp the pictorial space. I have to be patient. Studying the combinations of colour, texture and brushwork – like those magic-eye images from back in the day and Boom! – everything slots into place.

Nicola Farquhar Jute, 2017
Nicola Farquhar
Jute, 2017
oil on linen
500 x 500mm

In the work Jute, the green nose juts out, the purple triangle on the shoulder on my left pushes the face forward as the shoulder recedes. Thickly painted “roses” in the middle of the face transform from flatish blobs into a three dimensional spatial structure.

The other works begin to reveal their depths, some more than others. And yet I keep coming back to Jute. It is a great little painting and the image you see here, like those of many paintings, really doesn’t do the work justice.

A couple canvases have little blue triangles sitting on the top edge, one with a lozenge shape and others are framed with loose canvas offcuts. I can’t help but think of the works of Blinky Palermo.

I’ll go back to the gallery later this week to see how the works look on a different day, when I’m in a different mood. If you’re in Auckland and haven’t seen the show yet I recommend it.

You can find more images from the exhibition along with the press release over at the gallery’s website:

Nicola Farquhar, Folded Eyes Hopkinson Mossman 20 Oct - 18 Nov 2017

All images from Hopkinson Mossman website.

Dents & Bumps

The second coat is on, and much sooner than I thought. With it, ridges and indentations on the wall are being revealed. The question is whether to remove them by sanding and filling. My inclination is to leave them. The wall is the wall. The work reveals the wall and in turn the space and all it’s idiosyncrasies. The dents and bumps are an inherent part of the wall – part of it’s “wallness” – so it feels to me to remove them goes against the purpose of the work.

That said, I would like them to be a little less obvious. This I think will be solved through lighting. Currently, the two lights in position from the previous show enhance the bumps and dips. Under a flat even light, I think the details will be less noticeable and take a little longer to reveal themselves.

And these two images don’t really capture the colour of the wall – the one on the right is close but feels washed out due to the spotlight. Like I said, how the wall is lit is going to play a key role in how it’s seen, but that’s a job for next week…

Taped

A lunchtime short black (or espresso for those of you beyond these shores) as I wait for paint to dry. So far, touch wood, the install is going relatively smoothly. Minor difficulties with green masking tape - it’s too low tack for the wall, probably best suited for smooth shiny surfaces, so keeps coming off. Should have stuck with what I know – and end up using my trusty purple/lilac tape along the top edge. That stuff is so good. I hope sealing the edge of the green tape will keep it stuck down. Once dry, the first layer of “oxymoron” follows. Brush paint the edges then follow with a roller over the rest of the wall. Repeat three more times over the coming days and it’s done. Well, done save for the inevitable retouching that will be required when the tape is removed, but so far so good.

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