“Three emblems of the heart I carry as charms against flood water...” (1)
Garry Currin’s paintings are like skins that are shed after being aged gracefully over time. They are akin to Old Testament parchment where ‘truths’ are inscribed in complex layers and a timeless wisdom is conveyed.
The large scale of the works in Old Language creates a dynamic physical engagement between the viewer and the paintings. There is a sense of dramatic nostalgia and as if one is watching an old silent movie where much is left to the imagination. The scale also conveys a great deal about the idea of human insignificance within the larger scheme of the natural world, whilst it also reiterates the human/spiritual connection to land and sea; suggesting the interdependence of man and nature.
In each of the paintings a delicate net of white lines dances across the water becoming the water. In Annunciation and Landscape Without Moses water shoots upward in a magnificent and celebratory surge, giving rhythm and heartbeat to these layered landscapes about light and life and painting.
Colours are subdued, but overtly warm particularly in After Noah where spatial devices and colour suggest the cinematic drama. The broad range of tones in each painting is full and rich denoting hopefulness and the breadth of time.
Garry Currin incorporates fascinating perspectival devices in his paintings. Space is extended backward by the treatment of the landscape as a backdrop, draped against a dark wall/space, and extended forward by the placement in the foreground of white shapes reminiscent of torn paper. These devices add a painterliness and a dramatic aspect of illusion to the work.
Old Language speaks of the timeless qualities encapsulated in the natural world - those awesome realities cannot be changed. It also speaks of the artist’s process, and the joy of painting outside within the subject matter. The large scale of the work in this exhibition is a magnificent description of the experience of painting.
“The works have a starting point in Old Language and transcend to the now: nature is the mediator, we are the space between.” (2)
1. James K Baxter.
2. Artist statement, 2005.