From Sharne Wolff…
Julian Hooper’s images are paradoxically both easy and hard on the eye. On one hand these bright abstract collages seem familiar and at first glance we’re inclined to think we ‘know’ them. Let your eyes linger on the canvas, however, and these pictures move in and out of strangeness leaving the viewer in a constant state of guesswork as to exactly what’s going on. Inside becomes outside, horizons shift and disappear, perspectives change and hybrid shapes morph from one thing into another.
The mix of styles in Hooper’s paintings mean it’s impossible to pin him down to any particular category. Blocky shapes in solid colours are placed in dreamy landscapes while spaces are punctuated with diagonal lines and comical creatures pop up in odd places.
Hooper lives in New Zealand and Milk Island is his fourth solo show at Gallery9. Although born in Auckland his mixed English, Tongan and Hungarian ancestry has been reflected in much of Hooper’s earlier work. The exhibition’s cute title is perhaps a reference to the artist’s home country or the results of him trawling the internet for inspiration – something he admits he likes to do before rehashing the best finds to create fresh work.
Until October 5
Gallery 9, Darlinghurst.
Pic: Julian Hooper, Come back later, 2013. Acrylic on linen 56 x 76 cm. Courtesy the artist and Gallery 9.