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JH

Catherine Griffiths’ Wall Drawing

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Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, installation view, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, installation view, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, installation view, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, detail, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, detail, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett Catherine Griffiths, 7/7, 14 Views, 2023, detail, masked acrylic wall paint, photo by Samuel Hartnett

Griffiths' title comes from the deep black used ('7/7') and the enclosed white slivers and triangles ('14 Views'), so I wondered about the forms and their gaps, and whether black here really meant Black, with the '7/7' being Black (language-encased) subjectivity looking out, and '14 Views' being white subjectivity looking in. Perhaps the butted together format is a simile for solidarity?

Auckland

 

Catherine Griffiths
7/7, 14 Views
Curated by Andrew Kennedy

 

20 August - 22 October 2023

In this stunning black Klinelike ‘drawing’ on the central Te Tuhi wall—designed by typographer and artist, Catherine Griffiths—we find a compact, blocklike rectangle of tightly packed, mainly thick vertical vectors, a compressed digital ‘forest’ of abutted descending painted bands derived from expanded letters of the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation marks. The emphasis is on peek-a-boo white slivers and vibrant, angularly intruding (or projecting) triangular edges. Graphically imposing, but not threatening, it rumbles with muscular tremulous energy.

The process of its construction, the visual thinking behind the drawing—the morphological drift of the development—appears to be just as interesting as the final presentation (this one can surmise from the written description), and so it is a shame the opposite wall in the space was not used to show the sequential growth of the idea, and the original elements such as fonts. A line of framed planning drawings featuring the metamorphosis of early stacked rows of touching graphemes would have worked well—and added conceptual depth in a very direct manner.

Why do I say ‘conceptual depth’, for I am assuming meaning is stable? In this work though, it seems to slither into an image through unexpected cracks, slide over the surface to eventually disappear, only to be replaced by another opposing sense. Formalism is on the edge of being disdainfully forgotten.

Griffiths’ title comes from the deep black used (7/7) and the enclosed white slivers and triangles (14 Views), so we might wonder about the forms and their gaps, and whether black here really means Black, with the 7/7 being Black (language-encased) subjectivity looking out, and 14 Views being white subjectivity looking in. Perhaps the butted together format is a simile for political solidarity?

Maybe this is all too farfetched, and that any putative interpretation should be abandoned? And that all there is is a disintegrating (or coalescing?) solid slab that twists and turns. Signifying nothing, apart from visual pleasure.

John Hurrell

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