In Crooked Spur Chris Pole has sought inspiration from excursions throughout the volatile Southern Alps, Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana. This has manifested in paintings that employ a diagonal ‘slice’ that shifts and offsets the imagery, a technique that has been taken further in this exhibition with the titular painting Crooked Spur, where the additional separation of the paintings across the gallery space leaves the viewer in a position of being offered all of the pieces, but having to fill in the voids.

The overall effect of these works is one of being within the landscape as a ‘participant’ rather than ‘observer’. Departing from traditional landscape genre painting through the introduction of flattening and disjunction, these works engage with the idiosyncratic nature of visual perception, which is prone to error and invention. Despite these sensations, Pole is quick to point out that in all of the paintings “there is nothing actually missing”.

Chris Pole graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Master of Fine Arts, and after a period of travel throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa he embarked on a series of paintings that encapsulated both deserted cityscapes and desolate landscapes. This body of work culminated in an eight week residency in Malaysia, courtesy of the Asia NZ Foundation, where Pole drew upon the rich history of architecture there. These works were notable for the use of text as a disruptive element within the picture plane, and this interest in the ‘visual interruption’ has continued in more recent paintings.

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