LAST JUDGEMENT – 26 July-19 Aug, 2016
A group show in which invited artists respond to an original engraving, by Giorgio Ghisi, of Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel.
More about the Ghisi engraving
The Ghisi engraving, Josh Bashford, Philippa Blair, Roger Boyce, Darryn George, W.D.Hammond, Samuel Harrison, Marian Maguire, John Reynolds, Aiko Robinson
In the Chapel
2016 acrylic on oak panel
500 x 1150mm
Taking inspiration from the lower central section of the engraving, Hammond reinterprets, in his own idiom, the trumpeting angels and books of good and evil deeds.
2016 woodcut on canvas
910 x 1220mm
Carving light shapes out of dark, such that white looms and disappears, Josh Bashford established a horizontal rhythm across the background and broke it with shapes, figures and ideas drawn from the Ghisi engraving of the Last Judgement.
2016 woodcut on paper, printed on three sheets joined together
2330 x 1495mm
When he was invited to show in this exhibition Samuel Harrison knew exactly what he would like to contribute. He had carved and trial proofed Crucifixion about two years ago and finished it this year. Drawing on art historical and religious themes, his intention was not so much to represent a Christ figure, rather an ‘any person’, condemned and at the point where life gives way to death. Harrison notes that two others died alongside Christ on the day of his execution. Samuel Harrison’s linear approach to printmaking finds visual resonance with the Ghisi print. In both cases line is used to create variation in tone. However, while the 16thC engraver carved into metal to produce fine black lines, Sam has carved white lines through plywood, taking advantage of its grainy, knotted characteristics.
The Last Judgement
2016 pencil on paper
1020 x 790mm
John Reynolds often draws webs or fractures. In his hands this motif becomes a malleable metaphor, its purpose re-assigned from context to context. The web, of course, being both a home (for the spider) and death (for all prey), is simultaneously a pattern for redemption and damnation. In this drawing, dotted lines radiate from what would be, in Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, the position of Christ and through this construction Reynolds pinpoints the strategy Michelangelo used to convey Christ’s power over the multitudes of souls entering the afterworld.
Means to an End
2016 mixed media installation
Retrofitted breathing tanks, vinyl lettering, monitor with looped video.
“Nitrogen Hypoxia: Unconscious in approximately 15 seconds, brain waves cease within 30 to 45 seconds, heart stops within two to three minutes, undetectable via autopsy.”
Toccare (to touch) 1-6
2016 gesso, ink, photocopy, acrylic, varnish, graphite, paper
6 works of 790 x 585mm
Toccare (to touch) relates to Blair’s personal experiences in Florence, working nearby Casa Buonarroti which houses Michelangelo’s studio. Impressions of reconstructed fragments of great antiquity are indelible memories for Blair. The decollage is raw, layered and torn, like grafitto, Italian street art, which is often posted over centuries-old walls. Blair focuses on a reconstructed composition in the abstract, with forms and figurations that disappear and reveal unexpectedly.
Burdens of clothing & skin
2016 pencil, pen, ink, watercolour, gouache & acrylic on paper
640 x 930mm
An artist of Japanese and New Zealand heritage, Aiko Robinson delved into Japanese Buddhist mythology when developing a work for this exhibition.
Various myths describe the paths taken to the next world but Robinson focuses on one in which the Buddhist counterpart to the Roman Catholic concept of purgatory forms part of the story. According to this folklore souls must cross an array of rivers. Those who are innocent can flee freely over a bridge, but the less virtuous must cross a rapid stream where the demon Datsueba, ‘Old Hog of Hell’, awaits on the other side near a great tree. Here the Old Hog robs guilty souls of their clothes. Some unfortunate souls arrive naked, and having no clothes for the Datsueba to grasp, she strips them, instead, of their skins.
Robinson was intrigued by the portrayal of Saint Bartholomew in the Last Judgement. He is depicted looking up towards Christ, holding the knife of his martyrdom in one hand and his own flayed skin in the other. The figures in Aiko Robinson’s watercolour are adapted from the Ghisi engraving but the aesthetic relates more closely to traditional art from Japan.
2009 automotive paint on aluminium
3300 x 1400mm
The viewer is reflected when standing in front of the glossy surface of Rehita #2 and the notion of self-reflection is central to Darryn George’s decision to contribute this work to Last Judgement. This painting comes from the series Rehita, meaning register, and the artist has abstracted the idea of a series of files containing documents, papers, books, their content undefined. Another recurrent motif in George’s work is the ladder and in the context of this exhibition the ladder reaches from this world to the next.
A Last Judgement
2016 acrylic and pencil on paper
875 x 750mm
Responding to the linear nature of the Ghisi engraving, Marian Maguire followed the basic rhythm of Michelango’s composition, rendering it in horizontal and vertical stripes and leaving aside reference to the content.
The Art of Engraving – short essay by Marian Maguire which accompanies a display of antique engravings from her collection, on show in the back hallway, for the duration of the LAST JUDGEMENT exhibition.
REVIEW by Warren Feeney for the Press, 10 August 2016