Erasure and Shape
Nancy Sever Gallery, City Walk Canberra
6th March- 3rd April 2022.
Opening 12 pm – 4 pm Sunday 6th March.
Derek O’Connor Erasure and shape
To be a painter in the 21st century is to swim in an ever-expanding matrix of technology, special effects, photographic processes and art created using installation, video and performance.
Making art historical references in your work means selecting from a monstrous array of art movements in a world rife with political, environmental and humanitarian issues that are all potential fodder for art. Conceptually you can be tightly focused or as multifarious as you wish.
Concurrent with my interest in the recuperation of anachronistic technologies – books, expressive painting – lies a deep commitment to the medium of paint as a vehicle to embed meaning through a process of application and erasure.
Given the saturated world of images in which we live, with this new body of work I wanted to slow down, to look into rather than just scan the surface of these ghost-like shapes as they slowly reveal their fugitive form through paint and erasure.
The question becomes not what to paint but how to paint.
These days the Artist Statement is an almost obligatory appendage to an artist’s commercial exhibition catalogue, yet it’s an enterprise that can be somewhat fraught as it pits explanatory rhetoric against ocular sensation.
In a profile of the artist David Salle for the New Yorker published nearly 30 years ago the American essayist Janet Malcolm wrote: ‘I have never found anything any artist has said about his work interesting’. Salle said (in his obituary of Malcolm published in ArtForum last year), that once his vanity recovered ‘the veracity of [her] verdict was clear’, although ‘at odds with the prevailing reverence for that peculiar literary artifact, the artist’s statement… Like any good analyst, she was only interested in the story behind the story.’
And the story behind the story in Erasure and shape is the paintings.
To read or view, the choice is yours.