As mentioned previously, one way I have devised to get around the issues RA presents in terms of painting is to take a leaf out of Henri Matisse’s book, and paint paper, which can then be cut up and collaged. Collage has always appealed to the graphic designer in me which wants to organise shapes and colours within an area.
Various New Zealand painters have used horizontal and vertical lines as compositional motifs, such as Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, James Robinson, and Shane Cotton. Vertical lines have featured in the minimalism of Ad Reinhardt also. Another reason I wanted to explore this method, was that I thought it may become useful for incorporating the use of words and typography in the future.
I purchased an Accent cutting mat, which has the added advantage of having grid lines, so that I can keep the painted pieces of paper square as I slice them into varying widths with my scalpel. I then organise them on a mock piece of paper, then apply mod-podge glue to 640gsm paper, and once dry, trim the edges.
I was unaware while deciding on the colours of their traditional Maori usage:
“Black represents Te Korekore the realm of Potential Being.The long darkness from whence the world emerged. White represents Te Ao Marama the realm of Being and light. It is the physical world, where symbolises purity, harmony and enlightenment… Red represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of Coming into being. It symbolises female, active, flashing, south, yelling, forests, gestation and spirals.Red is Papatuanuku Earth Mother, the sustainer if all living things. Red is the colour of earth from which the first humans was made.”
But it was my to give these works a kind of stoic Canterbury feel, so that locals may identify with them.
They are small (four by six inches), but striking.
While making them, this Suzanne Vega song kept going through my head: