Reviews/Visual Art

Somewhere into the rainbow

7 December 2021

Spanning the spectrum, ‘Expander-COLOUR’ is a playful exploration of the many moods and tones of colour, discovers Kim Kirkman.

‘Expander – COLOUR’, various artists ·
Stala Contemporary ·

Shot through with a rainbow palette, Stala Contemporary’s new exhibition “Expander-COLOUR” celebrates the depth and versatility of colour.

In assembling works by 16 artists whose use of colour is fundamental and distinctive, Stala Director Sherri Staltari has created a playful study of its influence on mood and composition.

Tactile caricature: ‘Fortuity (Caleb)’, Carla Adams, 2021, polyester rope, polymer clay, freshwater pearl, 49 x 20cm

“Expander-COLOUR” is the first in a new annual series of group shows by Stala Contemporary that unites a diversity of contemporary artists – local, national and international – under one broadly encompassing theme.

Texturally, the exhibition spans the tactile caricature of Carla Adams’ coiled rope characters, with their button eyes, bead braids and clay noses; through Johanna Valom’s springy, dappled Summer Solitude in looped wool; to Eric Hynynen’s enamel works, which recreate billowy folds of plush fabric in hues of fuchsia, tangerine and lilac (pictured top). In each of these works by West Australian artists, colour gives the piece its evocation – mood, light-play, a sense of softness.

US-based painter Andy Burgess’s constructivist-style cityscapes turn racetracks, stoplights and service stations into glossy grids of compelling colour, communicating warmth and movement in their bright oblong forms and imperfect circles; and evoking just enough of their namesake scenes to render their sense in new expressive ways.

Exhibiting alongside Burgess’s work, WA artist Antonia Radich’s hypersaturated red-on-black colour study seems to blaze an arid, Australian-heat. Elsewhere in the show, Victorian artist Bryce Aston’s more restrained collage series offsets a multi-coloured jumble of sharp points and wonky edges, appearing simultaneously three dimensional and in-motion.

Glammed up boxes create irreverence: ‘Cupid’s arrow struck Capture who fell hopelessly in love with Storage until the inevitable end.’ Patrizia Biondi 2021 recovered cardboard, paint 149.5 x 61 x 23cm

Sea Glass + Basalt, D’Entrecasteaux National Park, a diptych by WA artist Jane Tangney, creates big mood in dreamy stretches of grey and lavender, with burnished edges and touches of apricot. Similar is Valom’s Under cover of night, with its thick brush strokes in muted shades of oil generating a cool and rustling sense that contrasts the neon and oilstick scribble of WA artist Kay Wood’s adjacent piece Things Not Said. This work, like Wood’s other canvas and sculptural pieces, is generous and emotional, blending a naivety and grunge in their almost-forms.

NSW artist Patrizia Biondi’s biomorphic sculptures are created from recovered materials and craft a dystopian architecture that is at once shabby and futuristic, organic and industrial; with old cardboard clad in brocade, and haphazard scaffolding supporting ornate forms that glint with gold and pops of pink. There is an irreverence to the works – these glammed-up Sauvignon Blanc boxes and packing creates with their bold colours and fun titles – and also an unfinished essence, as though they are growing and changing entities.

Zig Zag Romeo, by NSW’s Nuha Saad, also toys with contrast, her sleek structures both technicolour and traditional, with their digital signalling and punchy colours crafted from simple sanded wooden blocks.

All but a couple of works in “Expander – COLOUR” are abstract pieces, which allows for colour to do more of the talking. In works of pop geometry, mixed-media or explorations of negative space, the collection leans on composition, light and gradient to generate tone and mood. Together, the breadth of styles form lively show, while each highlighting the weight and expansiveness of colour in their own distinct way.

‘Expander – COLOUR’ continues at Stala Contemporary until 18 December 2021.

Pictured top: Eric Hynynen ‘Canvascape’ series, 2021. Top L-R: ‘Fuchsia’, ‘Lilac Field’, ‘Tangerine Dream’. Bottom L-R: ‘Blue Skies’, ‘Make Lemonade’, ‘Green is Good’. Each 2021 enamel on canvas 30 x 30cm

A hexagon shaped sculpture, made of brightly coloured pink, yellow, orange and red bricks.
Digital signalling and punchy colours: ‘Zig Zag Romeo X’, Nuha Saad, 2021, acrylic on wood, 15 x 20 x 10cm

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Author —
Kim Kirkman

Kim Kirkman studied journalism and community development, and has worked across the state as a reporter and story gatherer. She loves food and fiction writing and hearing other people’s stories. Always up for a challenge, the monkey bars are her favourite part of the playground.

Past Articles

  • Taking it from the streets

    Can the havoc and exhilaration of graffiti survive relocation into a gallery? Kim Kirkman heads to the Art Gallery of Western Australia to find out.

  • Freshly hatched statements

    Newly graduated artists take a lively approach to the dilemmas and delights we currently face, in the latest iteration of PICA’s “Hatched” exhibition, writes Kim Kirkman.

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