For Backcatalogue, Colquhoun’s subtle and precise collages pin point periods of innovations, discoveries and events, whilst they equally focus on moments in Colquhoun’s art practice. These collaged pages of dated Life magazines provide an inspired backdrop for Colquhoun to revisit and reinterpret conceptual ideas relating to time and memory, ideas which he has continued to explore for over 30 years.
While clearing out his mother’s house late last year Colquhoun discovered a handful of Life magazines from the 60’s. He was taken with the quality of the photographic imagery which evoked a strong sense of nostalgia through not only the subjects depicted but through the colours, paper stock and printing process.
Backcatalogue unveils an archive of motifs present in Colquhoun’s earlier paintings and drawings, and ironically many of these original motifs are themselves dated; the turntable stylus, the photographic mount, the film canister, the sound and video cassette tape.
Colquhoun’s motifs are selected due to their relationship with time and memory such as the smoke coming from the end of dying match, employed to depict the transition between one state and another and similarly, the light switch from Extinguish, 1992. Then there are the many photographic references to moments captured and remembered, for example slide canisters, a camera and 35mm film reels reappearing from his earlier paintings, Blank, 1996, Lapse, 2000 and Permeate 2001 amongst others. His quiet references to record keeping with depictions of filing cabinets, torn or folded paper and the perforated paper edges which he meticulously painted for his Trace series from 1994 are re-presented (as Colquhoun has fastidiously collaged the perforated paper edge onto the Life page). For Colquhoun the imprint of the torn page is like a DNA code, a “trace” being transferred from one generation to the next.
Colquhoun has undertaken an extensive and impressive exercise in time and memory creating this Backcatalogue which accesses imagery from a 30 year period, repurposes and reinvents printed imagery from the 1960’s, to produce a cohesive and enlightening body of work in 2014.
Brett Colquhoun has a distinguished exhibiting history, having been part of the pivotal Australian institutions Art Projects, Gertrude Street and Pinacotheca. Since 1982 Colquhoun has regularly exhibited paintings, holding numerous solo shows at Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Recent group exhibitions include: Trams: Moving Pictures, The Old Treasury Building, Melbourne, 2012; The Geelong Art Prize, Geelong Gallery, 2012; Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, 2011; Pulp, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2010; MELBOURNE><BRISBANE: punk/art/music, then and now, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2010, and The Shilo Project, curated by Chris McAuliffe, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne and Wangaratta Art Gallery, Victoria, 2009. He has also participated in many major exhibitions, including Phenomena New Painting in Australia: 1, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2001; 1st Adelaide Biennial, Art Gallery of South Australia, 1990; and Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1983. In 2011 Colquhoun was a finalist in the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria. His work is held in several public collections including the City of Melbourne, Monash University Collection, National Gallery of Australia and Queensland Art Gallery.Artist’s profile