Artists find many different ways to convey their ideas. Perth-based Rebecca Baumann takes delight in colour, light and movement. To express these she finds industrial display mechanisms and makes them servants of her art. Her impressive piece Once More with Feeling, at Starkwhite, is the latest.
Previously, she has shown large, rectangular groupings of the flip-clock mechanisms that turn over rapidly to spell out arrival and departure times at airports. Her works had no letters, just colours - a mass of them that changed unpredictably into limitless abstract patterns. Called Automated Colour Fields, they were hugely popular.
The present work is much larger and more colourful but rather predictable in its effects. It is a large industrial frame in the centre of the gallery. Within the frame tall prisms show one of their three sides for a few moments then change simultaneously. Such a mechanism is a commonplace of display signs. For this work the display is lit by a powerful remote light. The transparent perspex of the prisms has been treated to show plain colour and occasional unexpected organic curves. In addition the edges of the perspex throw lines of light on walls to the side. However, the main display is of harmonised broad stripes of colour on the white walls of the gallery.
The effects are ever-changing, cannot be taken in at a glance and have an element of mystery, especially the curious lines. It all makes a very effective work - too big for a domestic setting but suited to a public gallery or a larger foyer. Where it stands at the moment, from either inside or outside the gallery, by night or day, it is a fascinating work.
Gary McMillan's paintings, at FHE Gallery, also have an element of magic. This is partly because of their moody atmosphere and partly attributable to the manner of their making.
They are all untitled, and not named as being of a particular place. The images are taken from photographs, with something of the immediacy of a film still. What intrigues the artist is the sudden intrusion of a sign, a tower or a light into the blockiness of buildings or the patterns of clouds or foliage. In #18 the jib of a crane suddenly intrudes. In #12 it is the back of a destination sign.
Yet the works could not be mistaken for photographs, especially close up. This is notably evident in #19 in which the lively surface of the side of a building is painstakingly covered in tiny dots of colour more delicately placed than the touches of even such a painter as Seurat, whose work they recall. An indeterminate figure is in front of the wall working at an unseen painting.
The luminosity achieved is most apparent in #14 with a sunset sky and the glow of streetlights.
It is this quality of paint that confers the richness of art on these apparently commonplace scenes.
The use of a simple wide brush and black ink on a white background creates the complex images in the work of Judi Bagust at the Exhibitions gallery in Newmarket.
These gestural paintings are made in the way we are taught to read at school, from left to right, and the works progress rhythmically, folding in and out, rising and falling.
The system works very well in the progression of Ephemeral, the bold advance of Sublimate or the special twist at the centre of Quintessence. The work, given the titles, provokes thought as well as admiration.
When the artist moves to expand the movement away from left to right and build upwards, as in Archetype, the flowing gestures are less successful but altogether it is a lively and original first exhibition.
At the galleries
Once More With Feeling by Rebecca Baumann
Where and when:
Starkwhite, 510 Karangahape Rd, to October 18
A big display mechanism is used to make an abstract light show that is colourful, surprising, spectacular and, in parts, very subtle.
What: Broadcast by Gary McMillan
Where and when: FHE Galleries, 2 Kitchener St, to October 24
TJ says: By basing his work on grainy photography, McMillan paints scenes where something seems just about to happen and the moment is made luminous by extraordinarily intricate painting techniques.
What: Ipseity - Essence by Judi Bagust
Where and when: Exhibition, 19A Osborne St, Newmarket, to October 19
TJ says: Most of these drawings, made with one sustained flowing gesture, have decorative rhythms.