Colour, Real and Imagined

The ANU Drill Hall Gallery is currently showcasing an intimate and dynamic display of colour-field inspired works by Australian abstract artist David Serisier.

Colour, Real and Imagined focuses on and explores colour as an integral component to our everyday lives. When looking at large-scale artworks, the size can make us feel intimidated or wrapped in the warmth of the piece. It can invoke extreme reactions, and as audiences, affects how we relate to the vibrancy or tranquillity of colour. Ultimately, an organic response for each individual interfaced with cultural significance around the specificity colour, composition and scale reveals what Serisier terms as ‘digital colour’.

The exploration of his works from over twenty years begins in the main gallery room, where his large-scale works are powerful and potent in their palette. Part of Serisiers’ exercise considers scale and form, which is showcased by the 2010 Untitled Red painting. His imaginative treatment of colour exposes the viewer to his minimalist style and influence from renowned artists such as Rothko and Motherwell.

Standing before Untitled red painting, it becomes easy to understand the power of Serisiers’ work. Untitled red painting is not merely a large scale, red-painted canvas; rather, it’s a pensive piece, thought-provoking and inspires emotion within the viewer. The boldness of solid red has an overwhelming and confronting energy to it. My encounter of the work revealed an interaction between the rich experience of colour and the subtle shadow play prevalent within this piece, evoking a subtle rhythm between light and shade.

In the smaller galleries of the Drill Hall space we are exposed to some of Serisiers’ older as well as some of his more textured works. His 1991 piece “Red Black and White” is energetic in colour and has a particularly controlled painterly technique. Black white and red colours overlay one another in a checkerboard motif anticipating the approach seen in Serisiers more recent 2012 “untitled yellow and blue florescent light painting”. These works are entrancing, placing viewers who stare long enough under a visual hypnosis. Similarly, his oil and wax on linen piece “Tondo no. II”, is beautifully entrancing not only in its void-like form but also in all of its tactile complexities.

Colour, Real and Imagined, was an eloquent exhibition suitable for those who have an interest in the visual arts, but particularly in dynamic, powerful and modern minimalistic colour field pieces.

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