Perception and Deception

2015

PENNY CONTEMPORARY
187 Liverpool St, Hobart TAS 7000

September 18 - 14 October 2015

Perception and Deception - Paul Zika

Modernist pictorial space ceased to be illusionistic, and relied upon the figure/ground relationship to create a different pictorial space. In this shift, a new interaction between the positive and negative arose, and this relationship was no longer ‘fixed’. This spatial ambiguity is at its most heightened within decoration. So, despite a high modernist distaste for the decorative; that is an area that I have explored for the last twenty-five years. The pursuit has been for a pictorial space that remains both volatile and seductive; one that entices and overwhelms; one that we become totally immersed in, and we surrender to that capture!

The sources for this research in the past have been the decorative scenographies of Baroque, Rococo, Art Nouveau and Islamic architecture; where there is a seamless transition between form and surface, and embellishment is an integral element rather that a superficial application. Furthermore, there is a diminished hierarchy between fine art and decorative art within these systems.
More recently, the sources have been the Bolivian weaving patterns being revived by the Tarabuco and Jalq’a communities, and Roman mosaics. The Terme series draws generally upon both these sources, and more particularly on the geometric border friezes within the mosaic panels found in Imperial Roman baths. I have expanded these open linear designs and the second phase has seen the introduction of more complex multidirectional compositions within the single panel.

Paul Zika 2015


LIST OF WORKS

1. Terme 7 2012
112 x 162 x 5

2. Terme 9 2013
107 x 186 x 5

3. Terme 10 2013
138 x 107 x 5

4. Terme 11 2014
105 x 159 x 5

5. Terme 12 2014
138 x 107 x 5

6. Terme 13 2015
138 x 107 x 5

7. Terme 14 2015
88 x 88 x 5

all works acrylic on wood
height then width and depth in centimetres


Opening Speech by Wayne Brooks



Since 2009 Paul has had 10 solo shows – but this is his very first commercial solo show in Hobart.

"Scainting": a user’s guide

There are places we are going tonight and I assure you it is not madness, it is an exercise in weaving!

I begin with an affirmation and it’s really only to vindicate why I am here. Simply put, Paul was my 70’s saviour! When I began Art School in 1976, life was ablaze with the prevalent edict, “Go your own Way”, borne of the tongue of those near- feral troubadours Fleetwood something. This was, of course, absolutely untrue within the painting dept. as you had either juxtapose or gesture. Paul’s arrival at the conclusion of that decade came at a time that not only announced the complete irrelevance of the Mac but it heralded an era expressed with the lilting lyric “ God save the Queen, fascist regime, they made you a moron, potential bomb” and within his ethos of freedom, we could actually now ‘go our own way’, because that’s exactly what he had been doing, walking against the tide. Paul is a keel and his steerage within recent decades, help me evolve –how? - well because Paul knows about ceilings.

He knows about eloquent artifice, he knows about spectacle and its ocular collision between architecture, stucco and anamorphic device. He knows about Baciccio and Pozzo and that era of astral exuberance within painting, Theatrum Sacrum – Sacred Theatre. – Anti-gravitational ruse and stupefaction! Oh yes, Perspectival illusionism speaking louder than the Bible!

But Pauls work isn’t about billowing Catholic pantomimes of salvation. Rather he unhooks the canopy’s manner, which we read as interior, drags it to the wall as an appliance and imposes a template of the façade in such a way that internal/ external mechanisms fuse – as Peter Hill describes – “A roller Coaster ride in a Baroque church”.

Paul understands that Abstraction and the Baroque are franchises that exist beyond the parentheses of history. They suspend boundaries, perforating the frame such that creation and conclusion are indistinct. In fact, they are elicit lovers, tantalising us with both their hard-edge and their slippage, suggesting that, like Narcissus, they gaze endlessly at each other in transfixed veneration. This is Paul’s suspension, he resonates between the galvanized brink of the reductive and the gush of spectacle. He manoeuvres through geometric gymnastics which seduce us with ornamental orifices of pure sensation. This is a fundamental principle triggered by ambiguous, implied surfaces – the entrance to Xanadu – a portal to paradise, well maybe or is it Welcome to the pleasure dome? Regardless, this was filthy visual vernacular within the ornament hating 80’s.

Paul is an amalgam of surveillance and reflexion, gleaned from the empiricism of travel. While his language began with Florentine Proto- Renaissance geometry, the facades of Rome were to draw him into the void through layers, generating Monstrances, illuminatory fascination begat the Cornucopia as Baroquism compounded into Rococo condensed into Nouveau and then post-Scilly, Islamic elements emerged, as did the hovering hallucination of shadow. The recent advent of back projected spatial ambiguity, references the decorative Animalia mazes of Bolivian textiles. It was essentially an alternative decorative schema of embellishment. Here the isometric illusion is absolute, activating the most galvanised evocation of architecture. The lattice labyrinths are both physical and intellectual, a quotation of minimalism and a reflection of maximism. They are paradoxical and disorienting, they initiate an uncertainty of depth. They are visual conundrums, they are concentrated compressed fragments, where the key device is the relationship between surface and physical space.

There are many things Paul believes. He believes in that mid-20th century notion of ‘Painting as Object’. He believes in the vertical plane, the wall. He aligns himself with the Hard Edge crew and Frank Stella’s ornamentalism. He believes in faux-surface, he believes in the order of pattern, he believes in an old painting teacher’s idea that “Good reductive Abstraction will only work with an element of Surrealism”. The essence of which is uncertainty and chance. He believes in every drop of rain that falls…. Sorry I just couldn’t resist that! He wants to seduce you with his delicious irony, for he does not believe they are beautiful. Paul is a veritable Siren - but he knows about ceilings.

Ah, so what’s this Scainting business? Well it’s my hybrid blur between disciplines, you know - a little bit country a little bit rock’n’roll – translation perhaps? - a little bit sculpture a little bit painting! Congratulations Paul – ah is that Paris I hear calling?