John Hurrell – 15 May, 2013
The squeegeed works (three of them) have very thin paint, so thin that despite creamy encrustations at the edges, the greyish colour could almost be mistaken for graphite. The paint used is interference paint, a variety that subtly alters chroma according to the angle of the light raking across its surface.
30 April - 8 June 2013
Leigh Martin is usually known for his brightly saturated, toxic-looking viscous paintings made of yacht hull lacquer, but instead this exhibition is quite different. It features more conventional studio materials: a very thin, white acrylic, a watery blend of poured paint (a la Dale Frank) mixed with a Robert Ryman palette - but involving no brushes or stickiness. Like a saline or icey form of sandshoe polish.
Within the nine works are three varieties of painting - all on a dark beige/khaki coloured linen. Two types involve poured paint, the other uses a squeegee.
The two poured varieties differ in their treatment of surface. One is larger and with a uniform milky white skin that has curved negative ‘bites’ sporadically eating away around the stretcher edges. Overall they look like cartographies - newly discovered landforms seen from the air. Sometimes there are hints of mountain ranges.
The smaller type has a mottled texture, either granular with a field of specks scattered across the surface, or else cellular and botanical, reminiscent of veiny leaf forms or underwater plant life. Martin has used gravity to move the runny paint around, tilting the stretcher to control the fluid’s direction. These canvases are rich in organic pattern, evocative forms that appear to be on the verge of dissolving - as if caverns in limestone caves or packed snow. The modulated white is highly seductive when positioned on the linen.
The squeegeed works (three of them) have very thin paint, so thin that despite creamy encrustations at the edges, the greyish colour could almost be mistaken for graphite. The paint used is interference paint, a variety that subtly alters chroma according to the angle of the light raking across its surface. It is closer to pearlescent (or opalescent) than iridescent, being delicate and restrained - as opposed to saturated and garish. A strange mauve wash hovers within the weave of the linen, taking on a faint greeny tinge, this depending on the spectral nature and direction of the light.
The globs of thick buttery colour which cling to the perimeter, are mainly on the vertical edges, the evanescent mauve dominating the horizontal ones. Martin’s use of a squeegee connects these works in Auckland with say the paintings of Noel Ivanoff, except in Martin’s case (and unlike Ivanoff who works on smooth aluminium) there is a subtle grain, an awareness of the linen weave, resulting in a barely detectable streaky mist. An understated contrast to the drama of the poured ‘landscapes’.