The Approach

The Four Colour Contingency

08 Nov 2007 - 20 Jan 2008

© Installation View
Tom Humphreys
Mandla Reuter
Nora Schultz
Alexander Wolff

This exhibition brings together four artists who know each other well, and formed around the idea of shared interests and interconnections in their work. A mathematical projection - The Four Colour Theorem - provided a framework to explore these overlaps. This cartographical theory states that given any plane separated into regions, such as a political map of the states of a country, the regions may be coloured using no more than four colours. It’s a theory that admits it has exceptions, as sometimes the territories aren’t straightforward enough and a fifth colour is needed to define the space. The concept of setting up a visual structure that relates to a spatial configuration but is open to a sense of contingency seemed to connect to all of the artists’ work.

In Alexander Wolff’s paintings the canvas itself is made up of many sewn together fragments. Dyed in scales of black, each shade is defined in relation to the shade next to it. The existing patchwork proportions are stitched back on to the canvas as superimposed thin lines of colour in left over thread. In the process of dying the fabric black and failing, some strips appear as a colour in relation to full black. His second painting is made up of the ‘colourful’ elements rejected from the black scales. Hi wall painting combines found scraps of wood, canvas, linen, white and black paint as well as dirt paint. The pieces of wood that he paints on to are fixed on a temporary frame that acts as screen in the gallery, with the gallery’s proportions of height and width becoming the parameters for the dimensions of the composition.

Tom Humphreys drip line drawings relate to minimal systems of picture making, manipulating and teasing a sense of direction, scale, proportion and alignment. The drawings are placed in oversized frames and aligned to different orientations away from the centre. Humphreys’ sculptures bring together plinths and re-formed metal road signs. The joins of the signs are opened up, bent and balanced not to sit upon the plinths but to wrap around them. Each one connects to the plinth (or in one case to a corner of the room) in a different way, sharing some of the geometry of the hosting form with renewed figurative suggestion.

Nora Schultz’s sculptures combine thin metal frameworks that act as carriers for materials. Her self-supporting structures elegantly counter balance with foam camping mats. The curl of the mat is undone by the tension of the bent metal rod. The reclining mats echo the human form that could have occupied them and retain a sense of temporary installation. They also seem to look in different directions, claiming territories and operating as a constellation. Schultz’s ‘the magazine approach’ incorporates a text based on a discussion between the four artists. In this way language is explored as another variable carrying structure.
Mandla Reuter’s work ‘Untitled’ (2007) uses the existing lighting system of the gallery to switch the lights between all possible combinations. Playfully altering the appearance of the architecture and animating the works in the show, he introduces a theatrical element to the gallery, shifting between creating a sense of electrical failure and constructing a perceptual viewing system. His photographic series of downtown LA at various stages of sunset was shot by a commissioned professional photographer. The sequence in this format presents a familiar mediated vision of the city as repeated in popular media to a point of cliché. As a filmic trope that has no narrative consequence, the image series itself fades into abstraction.

Tags: Tom Humphreys, Mandla Reuter, Nora Schultz, Alexander Wolff