History of Ideas Series V 2008-2009 : BRIDGE (John Teschendorff Fremantle October 2009)
The ideas explored during the past decade have been largely informed by increasingly fundamentalist political & religious tensions that exist between east & west. The simple pictorial devices employed, particularly in the History of Ideas Series IV exhibition at Galerie Dusseldorf in April 2007, have been allusive rather than illustrative, with the concealing abstracted surfaces exploiting the dense materiality of layered paint & wax.
Whilst there are similar attitudes to making embedded in the four large panels of Design for a City Square (1:500) 2008/2009, including the appropriated green stripe of portraiture that first appeared in Series IV XXXXII Ka’bah (Portrait with green stripe) 2007, the drawing suite From the New World 2008/2009 is different. These drawings refer to a specific set of circumstances surrounding political attitudes to the movement of refugees from northern conflict zones to Australia. Using a framework suggested by the four movements of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No 9 in E Minor. Op. 95 ‘From the New World’, the first three drawings were made in 2008 for the Second Bangkok Drawing Biennale at Silpakorn University Thailand, and the fourth XXXVII Allegro (This New World) in early 2009, when increasing ‘boat people’ detentions were being announced by the Australian Government…the boat is identifiable…at once a symbol of hope & despair…the surface of XXXV & XXXVI is laid onto bituminous paint similar to that used to seal the wooden hulls that eventually burn on our northern beaches.
Bridge 2009 is a sequence of twelve separate, yet related panels…each 900 x 900 panel contains the same set of coded allusions…references to landscape, to a multi dimensional presence, a physical line, an emotional space, a crossing between & across borders. The twelve images may evoke singular emotional responses in a variety of settings, yet always retain their place as part of this sequence, beyond the conscious way that that the works were ordered or the forms of the paintings were originally encoded.
The Fragments 2009 series consists of fifteen studies made between late February and May 2009. They allude to presence of a crossing rather than the description of a bridge…as with From the New World each study has a specific beginning…for example XXXXI Bridge IV is a 1983 memory of the Noguchi Hiroshima Memorial Bridge and XXXXVII Bridge X an almost forgotten single girder crossing of the River Wos valley below our villa in Nyuh Kuning Ubud Bali. While these symbols of beginnings have a coded specificity for the artist, they present virtually limitless possibilities for decoding to each viewer, for this is an ineffable function of their complexity.