Artists

  • Whitney Bedford, Petra Cortright, Kirsten Everberg, Judy Ledgerwood
starkwhite.co.nz

Presented by Starkwhite in partnership with 1301PE, Los Angeles. In line with government’s Covid-19 regulations, there will be no formal opening for this exhibition.

Slippery Painting presents the work of four painters from the United States. Together this group of artists seeks to alter our concept what a painting can be. Although we have come to know and appreciate the ‘expanded field’ of sculpture, and it is also true that contemporary painters have questioned and challenged the boundaries of their art form, the discipline of painting has generally remained faithful to the techniques and presentations established centuries ago. As American critic and art historian Barry Schwabsky comments in his introduction essay to the influential survey of contemporary painting Vitamin P2, “Before there was art, there was painting.” Although their individual practices are distinct, these four artists shift our understanding of painting, exploring the unfolding of relationships between art and technology, historical and contemporary politics, and the slippery nature of perception. In their hands, painting’s definition becomes intriguingly unstable.

Whitney Bedford’s painting examines how images can act as votives for acute ideas and experiences. Her recent practice reinterprets and cites a historical landscape tradition including those from its masters Turner, Gainsborough, and Constable. Translating canonical landscape imagery into her own hand, Bedford forms a potent language where each visual cue or metaphor is an element through which to chart and reexamine pressing contemporary concerns. Her densely detailed and intensely chromatic landscapes offer a hauntingly beautiful world that spotlights the urgency of climate change and the Anthropocene, our current geological epoch where human activity is the dominant influence on environment and ecology. Each work in the series has a compositional plane of separation, Bedford placing in front each idealised landscape a desert plant that acts as a time traveller from an arid and more barren future.

Petra Cortright is an artist who never touches paint or holds a brush. Using a computer and mouse she combs the internet for her source material, appropriating websites for images, shapes, colour, and pattern before drawing them into Photoshop. Stripped from their original context, Cortright uses painting software to digitally manipulate her finds, modifying, stretching, and recombining elements into a digital ‘paint’. Using software that allows her to place almost every element on its own separate layer, she creates digital paintings consisting of hundreds of painterly layers before printing the result to canvas, linen, or aluminium. The result is classically beautiful compositions, both dense and whimsical, and mostly abstract. Cortright’s practice combines digital innovation with traditional painterly values to make paintings for our time, creating work that shifts between the digital and physical worlds we now increasingly live in.

Kirsten Everberg creates architectural spaces and landscapes that conflate perception and experience. Her paintings explore meaning, memory, and history through softly blurred representations. Elegantly fluid brushwork combines with splashes and dribbles of paint to offer up allusive spaces that allude to photography, cinema, and literature. Using both oil and glossy enamel paints her lush and seductive surfaces call the viewer into their fragmented narratives and otherworldly beauty. Everberg’s immersive landscape paintings are joined by a new body of work based on Dutch Golden Age still life paintings. Subverting this art historical genre, Everberg replaces the traditional symbol-rich elements with plant and animal species simultaneously listed as extinct or endangered, native and non-native. Echoing the perfect studio style still life, what we see and what lies beneath are woven together in Everberg's captivating and allusive paintings.

Judy Legerwood creates paintings and wall-based murals that nag at the histories of abstraction and feminism. Across vibrant canvases she paints symbols stereotypically associated with femininity or drawn from women’s art production, exploring their legacy across a range of formal concerns including light, colour, and space. Her richly textured graphic works include flowers and motifs found in textile design and decorative objects, historically rejected as unsuitable for high art. In Legerwood’s hands these elements become symbolic shapes, a formal vocabulary through which to examine sexuality and status. Evoking brightly coloured tapestries, Legerwood’s paintings create a perceptual disjunction. Her works appear to sag under their own weight as paint drips from the soft and organic surface she optically creates onto the crisp white frame of the canvas.

All works by Petra Cortright, Kirsten Everberg and Judy Ledgerwood are courtesy of 1301PE, Los Angeles.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday - Friday 11am - 6pm
  • Saturday 11am - 3pm
  • or by appointment

Address

  • 510 Karangahape Road
  • Auckland 1010