Tones brings together ideas that have germinated, growing silently and carefully, over the past few months. Since the beginning of 2020, or perhaps long before, the world has been in various states of flux, requiring a change of pace, a different dynamic and altered means of interaction. Thus, as we shift in tone to new possibilities, acknowledging the tensions and sounds of strain, and as the seasons are changing colours to different shades, this exhibition presents a play of form, shape, colour and tone. By gathering together works that engage with gentle and sometimes unexpected representations, the exhibition hopes to offer solace and a space for reconnecting, in spite of the precariousness that we have recently experienced of our worlds. The idea of tone as incremental, something steady and gradual, resonates with our current experiences as we begin to assume new normals, slowly adjusting and shifting as our world as we knew it changes its tune.
The exhibition theme draws on colour tones as we shift into a different season, but also reflects on ways to look at familiar sights, which we are all experiencing as we’re confined to our home spaces. The artists approached have each been working through their own various shifts: of colour, theme, space and environment. Their works come together in this exhibition to create a set of different tones, reverberating through, as we imagine new ways of showing and working. As the gallery’s first online exhibition, we are experimenting and learning, specifically to imagine and work through new possibilities of exhibition practices and ways to engage with art. Predominant throughout the works is a focus on interrogating home-like spaces, familiar environments and ideological recurrences. The artists in this exhibition are connected through their use of colour, and by a sense of groundedness evoked through their work. There is also a lightness that can be felt when looking at each piece, through spots of brightness, pops of contrasting colours and juxtaposed shapes.
Anico Mostert’s paintings upend familiarity, reminiscent of home spaces, yet offering a surreal swing of imagery, where rooms are unpeopled and yet full of life and pictures of people are empty of objects. Kino Hogan’s sculptural pieces similarly link a sense of recognisable scenes and objects with a questioning, suggesting a different framing of space through the lens of faith, and perhaps most notably: faith as it intersects with the patterns of routine, through surprising and yet uncomplicated juxtapositions through clean lines and angles. Ben Coutouvidis’s paintings are puzzle pieces to be configured and reconfigured through recognized shapes and remembered sights. Kyu Sang Lee’s musical images trace shapes as though they are scores and space as if it’s waiting to be filled with sounds swirling. As Loraine Boyle’s paintings lean towards light and impressionist understandings of colour and shade, so too does Nina Holmes explore the possibilities of paint through contrast, abstraction and working en plein air as the impressionists did. Khalid Rahman explores cityscapes through blocks of colour that establish the block-like shapes of the scenery, tracing a landscape that is shifting as days pass.
Some of the works feel like film stills, things in motion caught and frozen by the artists’ eye. Other works are like windows into private spaces, or of a moment. Through the lens of our current moment, the works can be easily reimagined through the devices we now interact with readily, like gazing into someone else’s room through their laptop cameras via video call or walking through virtual doorways. Sculptural objects are rendered differently, as placeholders and as substance that is yet to be felt and experienced. Similarly, textures and shine and crinkles of paint are sights yet to be relished as we make do with digital transmissions. For now. Perhaps the most exciting part of the exhibition is the delayed gratification, the suspenseful build up, the light at the end of the tunnel and the treat to look forward to. The works hold the meanings of their makers, the interpretations of our current perspectives and the possibilities of the experience in future times.
– Clare Patrick