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Thanks Darkness

Jan 18, 2014  ·  2 min read

By Sharne Wolff


Viewing Reuben Paterson’s pictures in the flesh is an optical treat. Paterson’s Thanks Darkness is the latest piece of dazzling theatre from this New Zealander (of Maori descent) who employs glitter as his medium. Like Damien Hirst’s diamonds, it’s the ‘bling’ and sparkle produced by the physical qualities of the plastic glitter – the ability of tiny particles to reflect light at different angles and to charm every viewer – that first attract attention. Physical and metaphorical contrasts of dark and light are also explored in Paterson’s pictures. The show’s accompanying catalogue informs us that “…[in] New Zealand art history, black is synonymous with preeminent modernist painter, Ralph Hotere, whose work speaks of spiritual origins through the Maori creation story of Te Kore (the void), Te Po (the night), and the subsequent phases of darkness that lead to the first dawn and Te Ao Mārama – the world of light”.


Each of these thirteen works skips through the rainbow colour spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Black is at the heart of the kaleidoscopic Thanks Blank while a white monochrome provides the finale for the sequence. While all are embedded with traditional fabric patterns, the five colour ‘monochromes’ knowingly conceal their designs or “source images” beneath symbolic layers of showy glitter.


Until November 10

Martin Browne Contemporary, Paddington

Pic: Thanks Violet, 2013, glitter and synthetic polymer on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

Courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary.

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