Nine Painting Presentation

Incidents Above a Bar, The Alderman, Melbourne
18 Nov - 7 Dec 2014
Curated by Renee Cosgrave & Merryn Lloyd
Artists: Stella Corkery, Helen Johnson, Jensen Tjhung, Michelle Ussher, Jake Walker, Meagan Wyke
Photos by Christo Crocker


Nine Painting Presentation

These painters seemed to make sense for us. I don't like to think too much about decisions I've made. These artists represent a mode of working that reflects on ideas in our own paintings. They might offer something that does not occur in our own work, but something that we see as valid.

Jensen Tjhung's black paintings are masculine, aggressive and confident. It seems like lots of male artists seem to be using materials that trades-people may use while constructing something at work: cement, nails, plaster. These works are solid but also quite delicate. They are black and the work is about blackness. The colour the teacher tells you not to use at art school. It's wrong. I think you should do the opposite to what you are told. Black is in. Black paintings are so hot right now.

Helen Johnson's recent works are exploring a much looser use of paint. They are abstract works, where she has played with the application of paint. Helen is also a very capable realist painter. Narrative has been a big part of her earlier work. Narrative still runs through these new works. Cartoon characters may be seen under or near abstract forms. What Helen is working on at the moment is exciting. An artist changing direction within her work. And going for a more fluid anti-logic with application of paint.

Curating a show about painting made me want to react by not including painters. I don't like being called a painter. I feel like it's less valid, less conceptual, less contemporary and this pisses me off, because that's not what I want for my work. A true painter doesn't care. And does what they want regardless. It's not about painting, it's art making. I’m not a painter’s painter.

Meagan Wyke’s works are honest. Making art is hard. Making a painting for Meagan is like fighting through the work. At times she is uncomfortable with what has occurred. This is the strength in her work. The work has travelled through moments of hate and love and pain and joy. There is a roughness to her application. They are poetic. A personal interpretation of one’s travel through a work. Loved and unloved and born through a process.

It feels like Jake Walker comes at painting from a sculptor’s perspective. He thinks about the way the paint builds up, congeals and sits on the surface. His compositions feel like they are built, stacked, colours placed according to fit, shape, butting up against each other. In a way it’s less about the composition and more about the hands-on construction of a painting.

Stella Corkery’s rough palette and quick gestural paintings feel immediate and down to earth. I feel connected, close to her process. When I’m painting I like testing, trying different ways of making, hanging all of them next to each other. They bounce the eye around and confuse.

Michelle Ussher’s fluid, layered paintings represent a process of application. Marks are made and deleted. This is evident in the final work. A beautiful transparency. A strict colour scheme and research material feeding the work. We have never met Michelle, I never thought I would ask her to be in a show we are curating. What a great pleasure.

Renee Cosgrave & Merryn Lloyd, 2014.