Tonee Messiah's newest body of work brings into question psychosocial dynamics through the abstract picture plane. Her intuitive process of painting merges with individualised ideas of dividing and traversing physical and social spaces, often subconsciously. Painterly movements in abstract image making treat the picture plane as a habitat for spatial negotiations across the ten canvases of the exhibition. Referencing nuances of psychosocial spaces in the titles, the paintings begin with a base structure derived through perceived dynamics within social spaces. The initial compositional ground becomes an organisational hierarchy for Messiah to locate abstract objects and marks that move within and around borders and boundaries.
Developing actions that consume and navigate space with the aim to influence such structures, Messiah treats the pictorial plane as a testing ground for ways to feel through space. Simulating a topography for shapes to occupy, manoeuvre, enter and exit, these paintings offer contemplations on how to best traverse these tricky terrains. In some instances, seen in Augment and Halt, the shapes and gestures take up space and in others such as Splintering, they offer sanctions for the structure 'veiled' beneath them. Through deceptive impressions of coexistence with embedded forms, the base structure is puppeteering the navigation of its painterly environment. The ground always dictates the tension of marks in reaction to this structure and is therefore always the governing force of the painting.
Press release courtesy Gallery 9.