Garry Currin is producing some of the most memorable and important artworks in New Zealand’s painting history. His unique and emotive works are critically acclaimed and his recent win of the BMW painting awards further solidifies his place as a significant New Zealand painter.
Garry Currin’s exhibition Inland offers the viewer a silent world to enter and contemplate within, yet speaks so loudly once engaged with. His atmospheric and mystical paintings are visually and mentally stimulating. They reveal subtle narratives and relationships between natural and constructed environments, showing the juxtaposition of manmade elements against moody landscapes.
Currin’s paintings speak of the future and the present. There is an overwhelming sense of imminence and melodrama, nothing is fixed or as it seems. There is flux and change. Both event and time collapse together. The paintings almost become portents. An apocalyptic sky burns and sparks in Gate of a Dream and a glimpse of light or hope emits from the hills of Age of Gold.
This Distance shows a landscape bathed in a luminous and golden light, the water glows, the darkness evaporates and structures float in and out of existence as if they are a mirage. What has happened in this place?
Structural elements give way to the natural environment in Trojan. This work demonstrates remarkable confidence and compelling drawing marks. Areas have been scratched away to reveal underlying structures, or built up with layers of oil paint giving an impression of afternoon haze. There is a physicality to this work; not only in its size but in Currin’s use of illusionary space. One feels they can walk into the canvas and experience this place.
In paintings such as Inland I and Inland II the natural landscape seems to emerge from a veneer of mist or fog, or maybe from behind a curtain, fogged up window or screen. Currin creates a visual barrier between the viewer and the painting that forces one to look beyond the surface.
Currin reveals and conceals. In spending time with the work, new images and forms start to emerge. The large patches of smudgy black paint in The Magi merge into tar pits, or bellowing smoke from industrial machines- what does lie within those dark shadows?
Currin describes Inland as ‘a series of works painted around the parameters of silence.’ (Garry Currin/June 2009). He offers works that ask us to contemplate our own environment; what has happened, what will happen and what power do we have over this reality?