There's a sense of playful misbehaving in Helen Calder's new exhibition—a polite disruption of expectations. Nothing is quite what it seems. On the one hand the painting seems to speak to historic male hard edged geometric abstraction but there's also a sense of soft feminine craft, of fabric draping, of textural colour with surprising juxtapositions and reveals between outer and inner, front and back layers.
The paint is built up with multiple colour layers of various opacities and is folded to reveals the layers. The softness of the paint, its pliability and weight, is evident in the drape and fall of each folded form.
And then there are the steel rod supports which hold the skins - here presenting themselves as lines, none entirely straight and some surprisingly a little wayward but all an integral part of the work interacting with the rectangular geometry of the paintings.
The rods also interact with the gallery space itself, seemingly weaving in and out of the wall to create a compelling installation which speaks metaphorically to the wider issues of support for art.
This is an exciting new exhibition from an artist gaining strong recognition for her exploration of the boundaries of painting and her distinctive use of space, colour, light, line and form.
Folded is Calder's fourth exhibition in the gallery and we are delighted to present this new work, particularly while she has two large works in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, currently showing in their Kaleidoscope: Abstract Aotearoa exhibition. Calder has exhibited regularly since completing a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury in 2003. Her work is held in a wide range of private and public collections.
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.