Press and Editorial

100's & 1000's

1/10/2015
Bill Gregory

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THE TITLE of the exhibition is a reference to the miniscule decorative candies known as 100’s & 1000’s. They are a metaphor for the masses of humanity – each different and yet the same...bringing to mind the biblical reference that ‘every hair is numbered...as is every grain of sand’ (William Blake, Bob Dylan). Embedded in the works are notions about the human condition...happiness, melancholy, joy and suffering.

Each of the twelve works on display was executed in total collaboration. Half of the works may be identified by either BRUCE SEARLE’S or KIM SPOONER’S talent base.They were worked on together through constant discussion, revision and agreement of purpose over a period of twelve months.

The KIM SPOONER based pastels question the importance of figuration in contemporary art

and are somewhat joyful.The skill of an artist to conjure illusion of form, structure and colour when scaling up and working from life – in this case the model being an element as small as a 100 & 1000 piece of candy.

The charcoal drawings of faces on the flat coloured discs are dependent on the conceptual- izing what imagery depends upon. BRUCE SEARLE utilizes both the tools of a photo-media based artist as well as his roots connected to symbolism by making a reference to Odilon Re- don. This series of ‘faces’ also make strong commentary on non-objective art.They reflect the human condition of sadness, melancholy and loss but also reflect experience and hope.

Art-historical references in the exhibition are part of a broad, ongoing discourse as Redon’s ‘noirs’ make reference to Goya’s ‘blacks’ so the show references both historical and contem- porary issues in art. Both KIM SPOONER and BRUCE SEARLE are keenly aware of the art- historical continuum and both are continually adjusting their place in that discourse.

ESSAY

Although the Exhibition 100’s &1000’s ultimately is about the human condition, a metaphor for the countless masses of humanity, it is also informed by various diverse strands of art historical discourse – the foremost of which is the rubric of non-objective/representational practice. The uniform colour tondos that provide the surface for the charcoal face series, ironically reference Non-Objective Art – tautness and tension is wrought by the disruptive addition of the 20,000 or so marks, which together produce the illusionist features of human faces. In turn these faces recall the French Symbolist Artist, Odilon Redon’s noirs – images evoking the ‘trist- esse’ of a forsaken Christ, the severed head of John the Baptist or the tearful visage of a crying spider.

On one level the representations of individual candy 100’s and 1000’s in Pastel, can be seen as somewhat playful, referencing one strand of Surrealism, the unaccountable joy and subversive pleasure experienced when something miniscule, unconsidered and unnoticed is enlarged to a scale that only a skilled figurative Artist can articulate. Included in the ‘Adventure of Figuration’ too, is the slippage, the quasi ‘double think’ that permits an illusionist rendering to be simultane- ously communicated as ‘a pipe’ and as ‘not a pipe’!

Bruce Searle – Sydney September 2015

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