Grant Takle – CLUSTER – 8 June-2 July 2021
‘This show is built around a response to COVID-19 and started with a set of loose canvas paintings based on ideas relating to social distancing, isolation bubbles, and clusters. “Feedback” from these paintings then flowed into my general practice and I went on to produce the large circular paintings. I also extended the on-going use of vinyl records which have featured in my work since 2008. These mass produced items, infected with my surface renderings, contain an inherent history, a recording incised or pressed into the vinyl surface which can only be accessed if played.
Rather than adhering to the records previous means of communication I have painted over this conceptually subjugated support; resurfacing the underlying and subsumed prior histories and then reviewing this in the context of the exhibition environment. Sound is still inferred but is latent although played and replayed, cycled and recycled in a new role. The records function as a register of visual symphonic plasticity melded with the painted image is buried, graven, re-signed and assigned new meaning and associations of artificial infection. New rhythms and visual suggestions virally connect, advancing in a growing mass of generated image clusters complicit but silent.’
One must admire the ability of a virus to change, permutate and hop from host to host. They are adaptive, inventive, persistent. It is their ability to repattern themselves that makes viruses such a threat. It is how they survive.
Grant Takle’s new exhibition CLUSTER began with paintings that focussed on Covid as a news story. In three large paintings on loose canvas key word, characters and signs are conglomerated into complex works redolent with current events. The work then took a turn, morphing into circular pattern variations, as different from each other mutating DNA or the crystalline form of snowflakes. These tondos bring to mind the ability of nature to reinvent itself and ceaselessly form new patterns.
Another idea, springing from the Covid story, appears in Takle’s major work ‘Cluster’, an impressive wall installation of vinyl records over-painted in linear silver with circular motifs. At nearly six metres long and three metres high this work dwarfs the viewer. What comes across immediately is the notion of connection. Some records touch, some float free, they seem to fizz on contact, they play. There is mobility to this work, with its glitter and shine, its implicit musical subtext, which sets it loose from the constraints of commentary. One forgets about the news. This work has a life of its own.
One could say that in this exhibition, with persistence and invention, through variations and permutations, by hopping from one idea to another, Grant Takle has generated a body of work which highlights survival through adaptation, creativity and connection.
– Marian Maguire
Grant Takle was born in Christchurch, 1962, and studied at Ilam School of Fine Arts, Canterbury University, completing a Diploma of Fine Arts (painting) in 1983. Through his early career he received numerous awards and much critical success. His work is held in the collections of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Aigantighe Art Gallery, Canterbury University, Manawatu Art Gallery, Westpac Trust and Wallace Charitable Arts Trust.
Working in both painting and sculpture his work is both edgy and inventive, often incorporating humour with a dark twist. Takle’s art practice was interrupted by the Christchurch earthquakes (2011-2013). His 2020 exhibition AFTER SHOCK at PG gallery192 marked his first solo exhibition since 2008. The title may suggest earthquakes but this series primarily responded to the mosque shootings in Christchurch, March 2019. Through them Takle delved the undercurrents of our culture. The eight paintings in the exhibition are grand, demanding works. They are visually stunning, multi-layered yet forthright; a challenge. Following on from AFTER SHOCK, and in response to Covid-19, he produced CLUSTER.