Huysmans, Merkens, Blewden and guest artist Prue MacDougall
Urbanism features Huysmans’ look at urban environments exploring the ‘aesthetic of neglect.’ “My paintings capture feelings of isolation amidst the congestion of city living, ending up with the premise we are alone even though we live and share experiences with others, a certain emptiness without verging on the morbid.”
Merkens continues the urban theme by reutilising eclectic pieces of timber, window frames and fittings, each paying homage to the iconic New Zealand villa. Embracing textures, typefaces, and woodgrains, these pre-existing surfaces tell stories of life in New Zealand and each are enhanced by Andi’s trained eye and hand with embellished detail, and her signature touch, the sparrow.
Blewden bestows a different treatment to upcycled wooden floor boards. Extracting structural elements from botanical source material. By enlarging, cropping and distorting the original image, he looks for what is revealed beyond the obvious. As each work develops, planning and structure gives way to intuition and accident. The physicality of drawing, scribbling, scratching, and scumbling help to facilitate the move from intention to reinvention as does the search for balance between dichotomous elements – line/form, surface/depth, conscious/unconscious, real/imagined.
MacDougall compliments these paintings with her deconstructed ornithology prints, reconstructed into 3-dimensional life size birds.
There exists a structural quality to each of these artists work; all are exploring nature and the manmade. A push/pull if you like, the natural environment’s influence on the manmade and man’s attempt to utilise the natural environment, within the cycles of decay and renewal.
Frans Huysmans, Andi Merkens, Michael Blewden and guest artist Prue MacDougall