Tracing Colour by Noel
Ivanoff ar Vavasour-Godkin Gallery, Auckland, to 24 June.
Reviewer Peter Simpson.
NOEL IVANOFF was a new name to me until a well-produced colour catalogue arrived
in the mail in advance of this exhibition.The effort and enterprise involved
in making this happen - unusual for a dealer gallery show in this countr -
is considerable and made me expect something worth seeing.
Born in 1963 in Lower Hutt, Ivanoff studied at Otago Polytechnic before moving
to London where he trained at the St Martins School of Art in the mid-1980's.
After several years abroad - including a sojourn in Japan - he returned to
complete a masters degree at the University of Auckland in 1999. He had several
shows in London (and Tokyo) and has been in group shows since his return.
Thisis his first solo show in New Zealand.
The mode of Ivanoff's painting is most simply described as contemporary
abstract minimilism - if you could call that simple. There is no hint
of illusionism, nor any figuration beyond all over surface patterning
of colour. The exhibition title Tracing Colour, suggests one of the primary
concerns of these paintings. They are studies in colour but in a very
minimal sense of the term.
We are not talking here about Clairmont's or Albrecht's symphonies of colour
but rather about subtle excercises in shades of diference involving pale and
dark green, blue or violet, one colour per work.
The painting are still displayed in pairs and this doubling is an essential
rather than superficial element in their character.
In each case the left-hand square is a wooden panel coloured evenly all
over with a single colour - either light or dark - the horizontal brush
lines faintly but distinctly observable. This is caused by ading beeswax
to oil paint, allowing the drag of the brush mark to be retained, a residual
sign of the artists hand. The right-hand image is in each case the same
size and colour as the left but otherwise qite different. The painted
image is attatched to stiff tracing paper which has been stretched across
a wooden support and pinned on either side of it to the wall.
The wooden stretcher is faintly visable through the semi-transparent paper
(a Japanese-like detail) and the thinnish texture of paint that is attatched
to it.The paint is more unevenly distributed on the paper squares because
the image is produced not by brush but by laying the paper over the freshly
painted surface of the corresponding wooden panel and brushing it with
regular vertical strokes like newly laid wallpaper, so that much (but
not all) of the wet pigment attaches to the under-surface.
Technically the "work on paper" is a kind of monoprint, and
is paired with its partner in a subtle, elegant and pleasing marriage
of medium, colour and texture. In
this post-modern era, many previously popular art styles are newly available
for renovation and use - just like old buildings. Ivanoff uses the colour
minimalism that has been around internationally since the 1960's with
contemporary sopistication and skill.