Language of painting

“Images from the Cage of Time: the paintings and drawings of Geoffery De Groen”
At the Drill Hall Gallery until August 14.
Reviewed by Johnny Milner

ROOTED in abstract and formalist traditions, the work of seminal artist Geoffrey De Groen is concerned with the language and process of painting and drawing – focusing on the power that can be achieved through tonal shift, colour, scale and the materiality of the medium.

Although the imagery is non-referential and often void of subject matter, it contains deep and powerful meaning – especially concerning complementary and dichotomised states e.g. emptiness and presence, control and the irrational.

Although the works encompass varying thicknesses and splashes of colour, very few visible brush strokes can be located – the eye skims across without hindrance.

Many of the pieces are named simply by a day of the year e.g. “May 5” and “October 12”, considering the title of the exhibition one would assume that these were created on the days they are named after. And yet this is unlikely – because of the rigorous and timely layering and colouring processes that many of them require.

Gallery One holds large-scale canvases and pigment on linen works, Gallery Three features a cleverly curated black and white series of landscapes and still lifes. “Images from the Cage of Time” is a prolific investigation through abstraction, and a fascinating exhibition that showcases much of the simple, subtle, and sophisticated work that De Groen has produced over the last 10 years.

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