From Sharne Wolff…
Wearing an assortment of expressions as diverse as a bunch of party-going emojis, each of Leo Coyte’s new series of paintings depicts an abstract face (or faces) of some kind. With some only hinted at, there’s an ongoing search for human-like features in the more elusive characters of this relatively large exhibition.
Defined as someone or something that’s a bad or awkward fit, a misfit is often nonconformist, an eccentric or an outsider. Coyte’s Mystic Misfits is populated with the oddballs of his imagination. Combining representational and abstract styles with abandon, Coyte’s crowd of palette-faced peeps and wacky folk burst from colourful patterned backgrounds of painted brick walls, childlike flower shapes and floating tears that draw on personal memories as well as art historical references. They bear wide liquorice grins, hangover eyes and rainbow-striped frowns. But what’s it all about? As a means of expression, Coyte’s witty tribe are much like emojis – drawing on simple visual language to communicate universal human emotions. You can’t help but be charmed by their quirky cryptic expressions no matter how silly – or how far removed from the real they’ve become. While an open narrative leaves each picture – and the identity of the misfit – to the viewer’s imagination, it’s hard to walk away without feeling that there’s something beautiful about non-conformity that we shouldn’t be afraid to honour.
Until August 16
Galerie Pompom, Chippendale
Pic: Leo Coyte, Mystic Misfits #11, oil on linen, 76 x 76 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie pompom, Sydney