Little Bird Prophecies

Art Life , Exhibitions Nov 28, 2014 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

Commenting on his work in 2008, Steven Harvey equated the experience of walking alone in the desert to the process of painting. Freed of superfluous and arrogant reasoning imposed by [perhaps] rationalist thought, the question of how one paints nature becomes essential when divested of everything non-essential. “Because painting, to me, is an adventurous and intuitive practice, using paint as an illusory device to form recognisable imagery seems to be a contradiction, which serves only to distract my sense of process,” he reflected. “Rigorously I investigate the sculptural qualities of oil paint. Pigment is sanded and ground into the bedrock of accumulated surfaces where reservoirs of colour shift and evolve.The composition reveals itself when a persistent form claims the final space”.

Oil on canvas

Like an act of revelation where the role of the painter is to make apparent only that which has remained thus far hidden, Harvey’s latest show Little Bird Prophecies balances a selection of large scale paintings between abstraction and figuration, Harvey’s elements of landscape and images of birds forming and then surrendering once more back to pure colour and form. Paintings such as Little Bird, Meep Song and Peace Dove [each 2014] flirt with figuration but are also bold schematic compositions that reject absolute resolution. Sonar Love [2014] is the exhibition’s show stopper – a white on black oval with hints of pink underpainting. Your eye flits back and forth across the canvas trying to make sense of it until you realise that is everything you need to know.

November 29 to December 20
Liverpool Street Gallery, East Sydney
Pic: Steven Harvey, Sonar love, 2014. Acrylic and powdered pigment on polyester, 228x338cm.

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Andrew Frost

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