Solitary characters on an empty stage inhabit the strangely beautiful world in Lorene Taurerewa’s new paintings. Disembodied faces emerge from indistinct backgrounds and a collection of incongruous props accompany the players. Taurerewa’s works raise questions of time, manner and place, and supply no obvious answers.
The inexplicable nature of these paintings is akin to that of dreams, where disparate elements come together in an irrational logic, making perfect sense until analysed in the clear light of day. Taurerewa captures the disconnected fragments that rise from the subconscious and viewers are left to supply the script and setting which will make sense of them. The ambiguity of her characters is compelling and allows for new stories to be told each time they are seen.
A strong sense of drawing comes through in Taurerewa’s painting, no surprise given her extensive experience with charcoal, ink and graphite. Working in a muted palette of greys, taupes, and golds, she achieves real intensity of expression using the most subtle shading and restrained brushwork. The Bearded Man possesses the barest of outline, but fixes the viewer with a deliberate and knowing gaze. Taurerewa uses varying thicknesses of paint to reveal and conceal the canvas beneath the pigment and these textural shifts enhance further the sculptural feel of her figures.
Lorene Taurerewa’s paintings seduce the viewer with their ‘unheimlichkeit’ – that which is eerily familiar. She invites us to consider who inhabits the recesses of our mind and what roles they play: her works elicit the shock of recognition as we realise that the stranger in the mirror is ourselves.