Review / In Form with spikiness and luminosity

Art / “Transitions: Paintings by Kate Bender and Sculptures by Keith Bender”. At Form Studio and Gallery, Queanbeyan. until March 14. Revoewed by ANNI DOYLE WAWRZYNCZAK

Keith Bender, “Disencumber 2”, mild steel.

IN this exhibition, two artists who are also life partners approach a common theme through different media.

Their bodies of work, 15 oils on canvas and seven works in mild steel, are loosely connected via notions of movement and repetition.

Keith Bender’s sculptures are interesting in their mix of potentially wearable domestic scale and raw industrial finish. With elongated circular shapes, and armoured, platelet-like construction, they appear ready to twine around a forearm; it’s the spikiness of the individual components and the visible chunky encrustations of welding that belie this illusion.

‘Transitions #8″, 2016, oil on canvas, by Kate Bender

Kate Bender is working with repeating circles and divided picture planes. In the former, variously sized bands of colours within the spectrum of either blues or oranges form intersecting circles and funnels that lead the eye into or out of stable black centres. In the best of her works, such as “Transitions #8,” 2016, oil on canvas, Bender’s silky finishes and cleverly paired colours combine to create exceptional clarity and luminosity.

Form is in a wonderful location, just over the ACT border on the eastern edge of Queanbeyan, sited between factories and across from car wreckers. A large black sculpture composed from pipes and plumbing fixtures successfully occupies the forecourt, both privileging the gallery’s industrial location and marking it as an art space. The interior combines cool modernist concrete and white walls. A terrific Patsy Payne laser-cut steel work from her “Inside Out” series dominates the stairway that leads up to the wide office mezzanine where “the plumber upstairs”, who is responsible for the forecourt sculpture, also has his office. Form has a stockroom and a small permanent collection and an emphasis on emerging artists.

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