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JH

Layered Meanings

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Installation view of Hugo Koha Lindsay's exhibition, The Plimsoll Line, at Gow Langsford. Photo: Sam Hartnett Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 2: with notations, 2023, synthetic polymer, graphite compound & water on cotton duck, 1250 x 1650 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 7: with notations, additions and subtractions, 2023, synthetic polymer & graphite compound on cotton duck, 560 x 455 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 1: with notations, additions and subtractions, 2023, synthetic polymer, graphite compound & water on cotton duck, 1200 x 1650 mm Installation view of Hugo Koha Lindsay's exhibition, The Plimsoll Line, at Gow Langsford. Photo: Sam Hartnett Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 4: with notations, additions and subtractions, 2023, synthetic polymer, graphite compound, water on cotton duck, 1850 x 1550 mm Installation view of Hugo Koha Lindsay's exhibition, The Plimsoll Line, at Gow Langsford. Photo: Sam Hartnett Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 8: with notations, additions and substractionsO, 2023, synthetic polymer & graphite compound on cotton duck, 1600 x 1200 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 5: with notations, additions and substractions, 2023 synthetic polymer, graphite compound & water on cotton duck, 1600 x 1850 mm Installation view of Hugo Koha Lindsay's exhibition, The Plimsoll Line, at Gow Langsford. Photo: Sam Hartnett Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 13: with notations, additions and substractions, 2023, synthetic polymer & graphite compound on cotton duck, 1220 x 1530 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 3: with notations, additions and substractions, 2023, synthetic polymer, graphite compound & water on cotton duck, 1200 x 1650 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 11: with notations, additions and substractions, 2023, synthetic polymer & graphite compound on cotton duck, 600 x 500 mm Hugo Koha Lindsay, composition 10: with notations, additions and substractions, 2023, synthetic polymer and graphite compound on cotton duck, 450 x 600 mm

These soft pencil scribble paintings (that at times suggest half-remembered formulae) are fun, with chaotic loopily-drawn mayhem slyly distracting from the stitched-up canvas divisions, perhaps as split supports destined to be unnoticed. They are frenetically wild, presenting signifiers of emotion, but not too much so. Good taste is never far away, for the joining up itself is a contrasting ever-present sign of premediated calculation.

Auckland

 

Hugo Koha Lindsay
The Plimsoll Line


14 February - 9 March 2024

Hugo Koha Lindsay presents eleven rectangular paintings at Gow Langsford, graphite on blue or grey polymer on cotton duck, almost all of them discreetly split with two butted together sewn halves. The result is a scrawled graphic scribbled linearity (at times with a rich [printed?] bike-tyre track-type texture) dominant over a split softly stained background and often worked into the wet surface or blurrily scraped or smudged. Many revel in painted tonal tensions between the two halves, or abrupt disconnected linear jumps. With others it is barely noticeable.

These soft pencil scribble paintings (that at times suggest half-remembered formulae) are fun, with chaotic loopily-drawn mayhem slyly distracting from the stitched-up canvas divisions, perhaps as split supports destined to be unnoticed. They are frenetically wild, presenting signifiers of emotion, but not too much so. While crazily scraped, scratched, scribbled and scoured, good taste is never too far away, for the joining up itself is a contrasting ever-present sign of premediated calculation.

Lindsay’s controlled vigour is captivating, for that graphic suggestion of bodily empathy might even arouse agitated intestinal movement in your lower abdomen, extending out to your limbs making them twitchy and restless, with sweeping arms ‘drawing’ in space, accompanied by shuffling legs. That they are bodily and physical is obvious, yet these are clearly cerebral works that rely on close scrutiny, and thought about how they were made, particularly the relationship between sweeping mark and cotton duck support. You ponder support and surface, liquid versus solid, hand versus mind, planning against action, energy over repose.

Here is another possibility. For a split second I wondered about the stitched double canvases, whether they represented a political reference to Te Triti as partnership, but I thought I was being over imaginative, as if somebody had furtively sprinkled psilocybin over my breakfast kornies. There are though oblique hints of language in the letter-like marks, so that view has to be another potential mode of interpretation. However with a suggestive title like The Plimsoll Line, there is definitely a metaphorical suggestion that our country is an overloaded ship, one that is highly vulnerable to sinking. The show is cleverly layered. And provocative.

John Hurrell

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