Brett Colquhoun Spirit

14 March –
14 April 2012
Breath 1
Brett Colquhoun

Breath 1

, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
56 x 43cm

Spirit is a solo exhibition of two distinct bodies of work by Brett Colquhoun. The exhibition furthers Colquhoun’s examination of elusive subject matter such as absence, displacement and the nether-space that exists between presence, memory and objects.

Colquhoun’s lightness of touch results in paintings and drawings that exude a strange and elegant mystery. Forever in search of ways to articulate states of being, moments in time and ways of seeing the world, Colquhoun produces moments of introspection where figurative elements provide a way into more timeless and profound issues.

Expanding upon works presented at Sutton Gallery’s Project Space in 2011, Breath 2012 depicts six landscapes viewed through a window. With hazy, blurred central areas conveying the effect of warm breath on glass, these images express a human presence or sign of life. This effect is achieved by rubbing back – or erasing – the image so that, as the breath appears, the scene behind evaporates. The entire landscape appears to slowly grow fainter and disintegrate, which Colquhoun describes as a ‘metaphor for memory and life fading’.

The Invisible 2011 is a series of drawings and paintings which extend the idea of erasure. Inspired by a painting of the same name Colquhoun completed in 1991, this new body of work employs techno-scientific imagery to explore the spatial relations between an art object and its viewer. The original work depicts a radar grid rendered in white lines on a black ground. Whereas, on a true radar screen the viewer is located at the central axis, on Colquhoun’s earlier painting this is blacked out, the aim to completely erase the viewer from the work.

In contrast, for these current works, the blacked out circular form, moves away from the central axis though maintains a presence on the screen. These works show time passing as the beam of light rotates around the radar from one work to the next. The radar form re-enters Colquhoun’s imagery as though transported through time and appearing here and now within its own new incarnation.

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 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