Few people paint black like John Teschendorff but there are
also some fragile and successful inroads into vibrant colour
in his show at Galerie Düsseldorf in Mosman Park.
In his continuation of the use of the title History of Ideas
- this is the third series - you could easily expect some sort
of Mel Brooks humour in Teschendorff's work.
This wouldn't be too far off the mark either because in his
painting there is a familiar nihilistic appreciation that no
matter how we try to break out of history, we always submit
to it. That is, even in the role of the avant-garde, it is always
a continuation of ideas.
The conflict and indeed stress of trying to break free from
inevitability is apparent in the construction of Teschendorff's
works. Constriction, perhaps, would be a better word. Grids,
columns, horizons and one point perspective become points of
ripping and folding as if in an attempt to release these forms
of formalisation from their inevitable abuse.
It's a disheartening struggle, a shrug of the shoulders but
also a poetic display of some possibility.
Teschendorff's series of small acrylic on laser print drawings
is the highlight of the show for me. The familiar tensions are
here but there is the added element of light dawning.
The folds sit in the red, green, yellow and blue paper prints
beautifully and their geometric elements add a sense of natural
design and purpose rather then the feeling of confinement in
the big black and red canvases.
Mulling over his understanding of drawing materials and their
association with the parameters of art knowledge makes for at
times disillusioning and at times uplifting viewing in Teschendorff's
current History of Ideas.
Spencer Review - The West 05/11/2005