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Raft Artspace Presents
Friday 6th June to Saturday 28th June 2008
Aida Tomescu courtesy of Liverpool Street Gallery
Raft was named in tribute of Ian Fairweather’s legendary voyage from Darwin and it was a dialog in paint, ‘Two Laws One Big Spirit’ by Rusty Peters and Peter Adsett that set Raft on a journey paying homage to the art of Indigenous artists of Northern and Central Australia as well as non indigenous artists of the region.
The exhibition PAINT is a diversion in this journey as Raft changes tack to celebrate contemporary practice in a broader context.
PAINT is an exhibition by four very different artists who have in common a passion for the material of paint and a deep reverence for process.
The choice of artists, Makinti Napanangka, Eubena Nampitjin, Aida Tomescu and Ildiko Kovacs is an aesthetic one. I am interested in the way these four artists deal with the material of paint and canvas and the evidence of the process that each artist leave in their work.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I felt when I first encountered the work of Aida Tomescu in the early 90s. It caught me completely by surprise. I had to wait another decade before I again experienced the sheer physicality of her painting. Aida’s works are absolutely loaded with paint, impulsive gestural marks to create paintings that have their own intelligence.
Paintings by Eubena Nampitjin invite touch, the viewer is invited to travel the canvas following her sensuous marks, feeling and caressing the canvas. Eubena’s paintings appear gestural but her marks are not impulsive or nervous she knows where she is taking us. To experience a painting by Eubena is like listening to her talking about country in her language. Through its rhythm and seductive undulation one is easily transported to another place.
The works of Makinti Napanangka have a similar sensuous quality. Makinti’s work conveys both human frailty and a deep knowledge as her mark-making full of nuance appears both tentative and supremely confident as she maps out the canvas. She manages to create sublime works that show great commitment and passion.
After meeting Ildiko Kovacs in Broome in 1996 I have become an admirer of her work. Her ‘in the moment’ forging of marks, she acts as a conduit to map emotion with washes, layering and removal of paint creating surfaces that leave a history of intense process and final resolve.
The four artists in this exhibition are informed by vastly different visual knowledge. They share a passion for paint and have a similar relationship to the surface of the canvas wherein process is ‘present’. These are not simply optical paintings. We experience the mark- making in all its intensity. The exhibition PAINT brings work by these four artists together as an invitation to stand in front of these paintings and engage in the discourse and experience the language of paint.