I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
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.'
Julian Hooper’s recent works bear compositions that evolved entirely during the painting process. Although essentially abstract, Hooper considers his abstraction a kind of secreted figuration that opens itself up to interpretation. His use of abstract form acts as a relaxant on representational elements, hinting at figures, landscapes, interiors and still lives. A tension and precision underscores each of Hooper’s paintings, alluding to subjects unseen.
‘I have a keen sense of my ancestral history, yet also a sense that I have the opportunity to work it out for myself, to argue it, to create it. It is the degree of the unknown that inspires me. I am primarily interested in following my imagination, ignited by an historical record and fuelled by a love of images.’
– Julian Hooper
Julian Hooper has held over 20 solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and New York in addition to numerous curated group shows in Australia and New Zealand. In 2016 he featured in Necessary Distraction at Auckland Art Gallery, a survey of contemporary New Zealand painting. Hooper’s work 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.
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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