Friday, 16 December 2011

Vivienne Binns at Sutton

It's the very last day of the Vivienne Binns exhibition at Sutton Gallery in Fitzroy, so I wanted to write a brief post about the work.  The most striking first impression is the diversity of the work - all paintings, but figurative and colourful ordered geometric abstraction as well as a couple of reworked earlier paintings.  This diversity is a hallmark of Binns' exhibitions and career generally.  Continuing the broad concept of her In Memory of the Unknown Artist series, the two figurative works are based upon poscards - Requiem to a postcard, auric symbols and romantic yearning1988-2009, composed of three painted versions, one the size of the original and two larger works on canvas.  All the works are painted in acrylic, but Binns' experimentation with the materiality of the medium is one of the most striking aspects of the work on closer inspection. The second postcard work, for example, Transposed Image, portrait of a postcard 2011, uses a watercolour-like wash and splatter, but the most interesting are the two gridded works, on each of which Binns was using up all the paint in her studio, playing with the individual materiality of each.  Some colours on the quaintly titled EMMA SAYS you talk about colours like my dad talks about his cows 2010, she pointed out to me as lumpy and gluggy as the paint was old.   I was most fascinated by the surface of Minding Square 2011.  In places it looked as though some sort of plastic tape (used for painting the myriad of small squares of colour) had been left on the surface, however, very close inspection revealed that it was that the paint had been used with a gel medium.  These works too, then relate back to Binns' ongoing series, In memory of the Unknown artist - paintings based upon a range of domestic surfaces - lino, wallpaper, knitted and woven objects.  Many of those paintings have a textured surface, combed or slick, like plastic, which suggests the surface of the domestic subject.   These two new paintings have a similar interest in surface treatment as well as bringing to mind fabric design. 
If you do not manage to see the exhibition, images are available here

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