Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition but of fundamental encounter.                                                                    

                                                                                     G.Deleuze. Difference and Repetition, 1994


This group of works builds upon an ongoing exploration of what Deleuze terms as the encounter, that which is beyond representation, within a context of contemporary painting practice.

Earlier works explored this notion via a contrived differentiation between the figurative and the object, the filter or screen through which we view work. In these works stencils comprised of grids deduced from the canvas support, disrupt over-painted facsimile-like copies of nationalistic depictions of New Zealand landscape. The resulting effect blurs distinctions between conventions of figuration and abstraction, the grid, a declaration of materials, fractures any direct reference afforded by illusion and evokes the conventionality embedded in these images. 

Works completed for Front Load introduce a more complex effect: here, abstraction and figuration are intertwined and enmeshed, tensions arise between the original form and the surface. What at first glance may appear fast, after closer inspection reveals the choices, decisions and contradictions that went into its making. Similarly, a final decision in a long line of acts may directly re-enact the inaugural act of the making of the work. Both traditional and contemporary painting technologies are employed in the making of these works. Often, layers of paint are peeled away via the stencil to reveal narratives of the works making. Processes and procedures derived from schematic, mechanistic and deductive acts are employed at various levels to make and unmake painted surfaces, at times reversing and exchanging established order. If a specific convention of realism is central to earlier works, these new works employ a wholly divergent engagement with realism. At times humorous, frenzied and calm, these works seek to contain their own reality, a representation that is a thing autonomous yet bound to the world.


James Cousins, January 2011.