A two person exhibition with Tim Allen and Sharon Hall.
A grid of dragged brushmarks creates a veil over the rather beautiful surfaces of Tim Allen’s paintings. In some pictures a lozenge, in which a landscape is summarily depicted, reads as a porthole so that the paint surface is identified as the rusting interior of a ship and its nuances understood as the effects of decay and differential erosion. In other paintings where a looming shape might be an island or a submarine, the veiling is more intrusive and more problematic but is used to establish tension between the imagery and the language of the representation.
Text written by Sarah Kent, published in Time Out, June 1-8 1988.
The works in this show are a sub-series of a larger project which is intended to cover the history of gold and the part it has played in the establishment of our present economic systems. My initial concerns were to deal with this subject as the main theme of the paintings, but since their inception a secondary, equally important concern has revealed itself. The works I had produced up until this point had often made use of prime source material in the form of old engravings and popular prints etc. In trying to discover a set of images which might be adequately transposed and appropriate to the initial subject matter, I came across a group of works, in reproduction, of watercolour illustrations made by some of the gold miners of the 1849 California 'gold rush'. At this time I was also aware of a piece of music by the American contemporary composer, Christian Wolff entitled Star-dust Pieces. This work had proposed a melodic fragment, which through repetition and variation was made to form a fifteen bar grid system. Wolff is also a composer whose work has made use of vernacular source material. This use of a grid structure to simultaneously present a complete and yet fragmented image, together with the idea of using material which stood outside of mainstream ‘high’ culture greatly interested me. Eventually it came to be what I now regard as the principle concern of the work in this show. The overall title of the Series, Gold Dust Pieces, is an obvious reference to Christian Wolff’s music. The fold miners themselves are referenced in the bracketed names at the end of each individual piece’s title.
Text by Sharon Hall, May 1988