Renee Cosgrave’s work is concerned with abstract painting – exploring colour, gesture, repetition and her identity. In her new exhibition, Papa, Cosgrave expands the boundaries of the abstract tradition at times avoiding arbitrary definitions in favour of prescribed movements. Cosgrave’s new exhibition speaks to concepts of whakapapa, whenua, te reo Māori and raranga (weaving) and there are many instances of celebratory dialogue between patterns and colour. The hues in her work reference colours in land and waters, dedicated to sites or an ancestor.
These large paintings are simple in their construction, usually built from left to right, like reading a book or the process of weaving. They have similar elements, utilizing a set of rules that hinge on the necessary relationship between line and colour, balancing order and freedom. Her formal arrangements of order such as grids and vertical lines tend to be bold and dark, as if the tradition of abstraction is a territory through which to constantly experiment with, acknowledging the persistence of abstraction in contemporary art practice.