This latest exhibition by Garry Currin Quotation of Dream, incorporates new elements as well as Currin’s trademark approaches to his landscape painting. These paintings show us that Currin stands amidst the best landscape painters in New Zealand.
Garry Currin’s paintings always reveal a strong sustaining theme about the process of painting. With his larger paintings, he works initially on un-stretched canvas outside on the ground, as if painting a horizontal mural. Then the ‘skins’ are resolved and finished in the studio. This process works in conjunction with the artist’s broad range of painterly marks, to reveal an autobiography of sorts: the paintings are about places visited, the ground beneath the artist, the time of day, and exuberant or meditative mood – sometimes both!
There is a broad approach to exploration of scale within Quotation of Dream: the largest works take up half a wall or more, others are small and delicate works on paper behind glass. The latter could be mistaken for black and white landscape photographs, but up close, the oil paint is obvious in these fine works, and paint is applied with a confident and accomplished gesture.
Garry Currin’s larger paintings are reminiscent of old maps or antique drawings due to the visual delicacy and aged appearance of them. But they are robust in their paintwork, and have an expansive dynamic because of the play and contrast of scale within this body of work. The largest works, like After Zeus, cause an almost overwhelming physical engagement between the viewer and the paintings.
Typically Currin employs an antiqued colour palette that assists with the conveyance of nostalgia, timelessness, and placeless-ness: these paintings are landscapes of the mind and emotions, and very much enhanced by the literalness of the landscape as it is directly involved in the process of making the work.
Garry Currin incorporates fascinating perspectival devices: for example the dark of the distant ground, contrasted with the light and veil like over-painting. Space is also extended by the large scale of many of the works and the physical engagement of these. There is implication where landscapes appear to wrinkle or lift (as if soft fabric lying slightly crumpled on a surface), that these are ‘paintings within paintings’ and it is tantalising that more might be concealed than revealed…
The paintings by Garry Currin in his exhibition Quotation of Dream, show skilled, confident, and intriguing landscape painting.