Gemma Smith | Jan Van Der Ploeg

Art Life , Exhibitions Dec 05, 2014 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

Repetition is everything. In Jan Van Der Ploeg‘s exhibition Wall Painting No.392 dominates the Cottier Gallery front room, a jagged line of orange and blue zig zags flashing across the wall at an impressive 3×8 metres in length. It has a strong visual impact too, with both an optical effect and [one suspects] a strong conceptual underpinning to boot. The effect of the work is derived from the simplest of components, lines that proceed by sharp turns in alternating directions, the twin colour scheme confusing a sense of foreground and background – is orange on top? Or blue? This is the formula of optical effect that’s repeated across the rest of the show. In a series of small canvases with undulating or interlocked lines – in patterns of two, three, four, with contrasting colours – Van Der Ploeg’s demonstrates how the simplest elements can create an almost limitless variation: repetition is everything.

Van Der Ploeg

The accompanying exhibition is Gemma Smith‘s PA Paintings. Like Van Der Ploeg, Smith applies a process of variation to a number of simple elements, and again like her stable mate, it feels as if the outcome is potentially unlimited. Using overpainting to various degrees of opacity, Smith builds up her canvas into an abstract crazy paving, some translucent and gently finished, others obscuring the ‘backgrounds’. The solidity of some colours seems absolute – Brilliant Branch [2014] looks like it has been finished off in photoshop. While it’d only be a guess that Smith has any interest in ‘post-internet’ art, there’s a distinct resonance of the technical lurking in the work.

Until December 20
Sarah Cottier Gallery, Paddington
Pic: Jan Van Der Ploeg, WALL PAINTING No.392 Clean, 2014. Acrylic on wall, 319x881cm.

Andrew Frost

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