ARTISTS Nick Austin, Andrew Barber, Nicola Farquhar, John Ward Knox CURATOR Abby Cunnane PUBLICATION texts Anthony Byrt, Abby Cunnane, Megan Dunn, Gwynneth Porter, John Ward Knox.
New Revised Edition investigates painting in the digital age. It's a response to the 2007 Adam Art Gallery show Four Times Painting, which explored painting’s relation to time, and featured Simon Ingram, Julian Dashper, Isobel Thom, and Shane Cotton. New Revised Edition focuses on the material concerns of four painters: Andrew Barber, John Ward Knox, Nicola Farquhar, and Nick Austin. How are these painters holding their ground at a time when screens are prolific and images are scrolled past, re-sized, and clicked through?
Andrew Barber’s three large, double-sided, freestanding paintings divide the gallery, functioning as screens or walls, linking modernist abstraction with his own history as a house painter. Dromorne Rd–Putiki St is made of old painter’s drop sheets and the exposed stretcher is part of the composition. Why Flag (2013), a new commission, was made by an industrial sail maker, then stretched and installed by Barber.
Portraitist Nicola Farquhar is interested in science-fiction and the post-human. Her richly coloured oil paintings focus on the face's sensory functions—mouth, ears, eyes, skin. Her unidentifiable subjects are rendered as if viewed under infrared light.
For John Ward Knox, the monumental is minute. He renders details of found images on white calico. Two of his paintings depict the hands of the Madonna and Christ from the Pietà, Michelangelo’s fifteenth-century marble sculpture. The wooden stretchers are visible through the calico; the images just part of these painting-objects.
Nick Austin’s paintings are ideograms, visual puns, jokes. Material allusions—distractions, diversions—abound. Idea for an App is a painting of a knife on a triangular breadboard: an analogue quip for the digital world. In Fallin’, he tests the limits of Renaissance theorist Leon Battista Alberti’s idea of painting as a window on the world. In it, rain represented by string, falls in apostrophes on a flat painted background. Depth is a matter of perspective.