From Andrew Frost…
When an artist sets limits on their painting they’re setting themselves a challenge. They might paint only in a certain colour and at a particular size, they might stick to a single subject or theme. In minimalist painting it seems that it’s all about reduction – taking things down to a simple set of variables and exploring elements such as pattern, repetition and colour. In Virginia Coventry’s latest body of work the set of variables are plain to see but, within this seemingly limited set of choices, her work has the majestic logic of music.
Coventry’s paintings play with light and colour and their interaction with the viewer’s eye. Large blocks of colour, some set in squares with subtle variations of placement and framing lines, set up a slowly but dramatically modulating pulse across the works. The series Nerrim I-IV – that look like their composition has been lifted from the design of old floppy discs – use shifts in grey, brown, blue, black and white to create a visual progression akin to the crescendos of techno, while the variations of works such as Two Yellows, Pink Red and White Grey have the elegant simplicity of the music of La Monte Young. Coventry’s interest in the ‘acoustics of colour’ is more than just an analogy between the aural and the visual, it’s a full embrace of the tantalizing possibilities of the synaesthetic experience.
Until November 1
Liverpool Street Gallery, East Sydney
Pic: Virginia Coventry, d. Pink Red, 2011. Vinyl, acrylic on Belgian linen, 65x80cm. Courtesy of the artist and Liverpool Street Gallery.