11 - 28 November 2015
Opening Night | Thursday 12 November 6-8pm
Ted McKinlay’s work delves into the aporias of creative practice and of modern life; to seek the gaps within the unified fields of modern visual culture and show them to us.
A VISIT TO THE STUDIO
‘…There are traces of tangerine in his fingernails, but his hands and shirtsleeves are devoid of the mess of colour that accompanies most forays into chalk pastels, reflective of the obsessive precision that accompanies his refinement of this messy massy medium into shards of pure colour marking space…’ [catalogue exert]
IMAGES | Ted McKinlay, Everything you ever wanted, 2015 | Images courtesy of the artist.
A VISIT TO THE STUDIO
It has been a muggy day in the studio, and our cotton shirts cling limply. A large piece of paper taped to board stands on the easel, while around us the walls and bench-tops have other works in progress leaning against them. My eyes dart around the room at the works on paper carefully mounted for contemplation. Turning my back from the chorus of bright pastels, I look out at the grey skies, and note the drops now falling against the glass windows at the other end of the studio. The monochrome skies contrast with the warm wooden tones of the studio furniture, with echoes flitting through the white spaces of the drawings; which modulate the greys of blank space through the shimmer of coloured precision that shapes the spaces of half emergent forms in front of us. Echoes of these colours aggregate across the benches and palettes, in powdered pigment and broken pastels. There are traces of tangerine in his fingernails, but his hands and shirtsleeves are devoid of the mess of colour that accompanies most forays into chalk pastels, reflective of the obsessive precision that accompanies his refinement of this messy massy medium into shards of pure colour marking space, and then twisting it through shifting multiple planes that never quite resolve, but hover and leave us hovering in the spaces between the fragments of the familiar, landscapes and echoing fragments of modernist hardware, and those other spaces; where affect and imagination rub up against memory, desire and doubt.Ted makes me a coffee and jokes about the quip made by a mutual friend about ‘the gap of God’, as they pondered the ‘God shaped hole’ that appears in the works – the bare spaces emerging from the vortices of pictorial perspective. Any trained landscape painter knows how to mock up a token reference to the Kantian sublime in the assembly of planes across a page, and the past century of modernist painting made a point of shattering this; and the assumptions of fixed ocular mastery over the visual field that it implied. Ted’s work returns the viewer to this ordering of the visual field, in order to remind us how much our everyday visual culture, of modernist architecture and the proliferation of deathtech military hardware is saturated with the particular ordering of space associated with nascent capitalism. However this is not a singular space, but is punctuated by a range of other spaces, and permeated by the textures of other temporalities. It is not the pure space of the picture plane, but is derived from the spaces of the studio, of the conversations within it, the space that is carved out of the everyday life of heartbreak and kids and part time work and grubbing for art materials, and the spaces of the mind and the heart that are inextricably linked to the space of practice; the shifting temporality of place making that is evident in the sustained virtuosity of Ted’s drawing.
The courageous wonder of Ted’s work is in his ability to delve into the aporias of creative practice and of modern life; to seek the gaps within the unified fields of modern visual culture and show them to us. We are invited to enter the myriad of spaces underneath a fusilage, mountain peaks, an aircraft explosion, a forest of trees, a stadium, and a formica table where our habitual viewing of these entities as fixed points in time shatters and runs away from us. Ted array of colour do not pixellate the surfaces of what he depicts; they shift the planes into a kaleidoscopic dance through what appears to be, and what we think we saw, and what we imagine we see, and what we imagine or remember when our mind flits to the ubiquitous place shattering spaces of information technology. The works in Credible Sport draw us across their surfaces, flitting with colour, and then to pause in the interstices between what we recognise and what we wonder at; where tangerine meets moss, and cobalt edges us into a gap of becoming and sensing and knowing that this world of surfaces is not something we can ever grasp firmly but only allow us to appreciate what Ted describes as “the desire for what is not yet”.
- Dr. MARGARET MAYHEW