Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s–1990s, a major retrospective at Singapore's National Gallery (14 June–15 September 2019), opens emphatically in flames. At the exhibition's entrance, viewers encounter a wall-sized image from 1964 titled Burning Canvases Floating on the River. The photograph captures a performance by Lee Seung-taek, in which...
When the London-born artist Thomas J Price graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Arts in 2004, the school's college art prize was by no means his most notable accomplishment as an emerging artist. In 2001, Price presented his much-talked-about work Licked, a daring performance, later profiled on the BBC 4 television...
Without punctuation, She Said Why Me, the title of May Fung's 1989 video presents itself as a statement, rather than a question. It suggests a subject who expects no response, a person prepared to make what she can from being chosen though perplexed by the attention. The video follows a blindfolded woman, then unmasked, through late colonial-era...
Exhibition view: Julian Hooper, Lazy Racer, Gallery 9, Sydney (9 March-2 April, 2016). Courtesy Gallery 9.
When we speak a few weeks out from Julian Hooper’s September exhibition at Ivan Anthony in Auckland, he still hasn’t settled on a title for the show. We both agree that a good title can’t be forced. It becomes part of the artwork, adding to the layers of meaning, but as Hooper explains, a good title doesn’t 'blow the cover' of thework. It is suggestive without giving away too much; it 'keeps the ideas rolling and skipping rather than setting them down.'
Lazy Racer is an exhibition of highly individual images. Each painting is an unpredicted synthesis of ideas pulled from Hooper’s storehouse of painterly memory.
Hooper builds his images on chance-based drawing systems. A rigorous editing process of overpainting, erasure and addition, brings together various signs and configurations into precise visual relationships. Each painting is worked until it develops an internal logic and possesses its own formal complexity. The experience for the viewer is as uncharted as Hooper’s approach. We roam through his amalgam of sources and freely speculate. Suggestive transparencies, dark shadow and looping lines conjure ambiguous landscapes. There is a sense of the night-time carnival and the fun park in these works, and the experience of looking at them is akin to the colour and rush of the ride.
Hooper steers a course that passes close to contemporary abstraction, traditional painting territories, endgame whirlpools and personal recollection, to discover images that are new and surprising.
Born in Auckland in 1966, Julian Hooper has held over 20 solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and New York. His work is currently on display in Necessary Distraction, a survey of contemporary New Zealand painting at Auckland Art gallery Toi o Tamaki. Hooper is represented in the Queensland Art Gallery collection as well as major collections throughout New Zealand including the Chartwell and Wallace collections, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the University of Auckland collection.
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