• Josef Albers, Gordon Walters, Mervyn Williams, Carl Sydow, Milan Mrkusich, Julian Dashper, Michael Parekowhai, Helen Calder

Chroma is the second in a series of exhibitions which explore different modes of abstraction using artworks sourced from The Suter’s collection and long-term loans. This exhibition comprises works that focus on the interplay of colours and tones. Some explore strong contrasts and whilst others are more subtle or subdued. Absent from these artworks is a discernible subject matter, instead they feature fields of colour in gradations of intensity, or geometric shapes such as triangles, circles or quadrilaterals. Artists have often used repetition and pattern to generate push and pull effects or illusions of depth and movement. These can be jarring and confrontational or harmonious and meditative.

A selection of screenprints by Josef Albers (b. Germany 1888, d. USA 1976) are displayed in the centre of the room. His life’s work was the exploration of colour. Albers used fixed compositional structures such as his Homage to the Square series (1950-1976) to test the impact of a wealth of different colour effects. His artworks show us that colour juxtaposition, shape and scale all affect our perception. Some colours and shapes appear to recede, some push forwards; some shape and colour combinations are very dynamic and appear to ‘move before our very eyes’. It’s entirely feasible that Albers colour experiments have directly or indirectly influenced artists represented in this exhibition.

Like Albers, New Zealand Modernist artists such as Gordon Walters, Mervyn Williams, Carl Sydow and Milan Mrkusich have had careers dedicated to exploring the formal possibilities of non-objective art, whilst their contemporary Ian Scott regularly switched between figurative painting and abstraction. Post-modernists such as Julian Dashper and Michael Parekowhai have a more ironic take on abstraction, whilst an artist such as Helen Calder takes the notion of a painting and colour in a new direction.

–Julie Catchpole | Suter Director

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  • Whakatū Nelson