Colour, Composition and Non-composition: New work by Virginia Coventry
4-30 September 2010
“Colour…is a kind of bliss…like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell.” —Roland Barthes(i)
“I wanted to get rid of compositional effects, and the obvious way to do it is to be symmetrical.” —Donald Judd(ii)
The exhibition will be opened on Sept 9th by Terence Maloon, Curator of Special Projects, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Virginia Coventry’s work over the last forty years has explored relationships between light, spatiality and colour. She uses the language of abstraction to translate our innermost responses to embodied experience. Most recently, her work has proposed “an ‘acoustics’ of colour”– a concept that picks up on to the way we use the terms thinking and talking about both colour and sound.
Coventry’s particular association of the dynamic operation of colour in pictorial space with the behaviour of sounds in aural space has allowed her to find fresh ways of working with the possibilities of painting.
For this exhibition, Coventry has created an ensemble of new medium to large-scale paintings conceived specifically for the gallery space. For Coventry both the paintings and the gallery are thought of as spatial fields where the dimensions, the distribution of colours, and the crossing of natural and artificial light might be brought into relationship. Utilising metallic and interference pigments and employing clever compositional strategies, Coventry creates ‘live’, vibrant surfaces that continually change in response to different light and angles of view. Her work in installation creates a mood of joy, calm and contemplation.
In her essay for Virginia Coventry’s 2010 exhibition, Sue Best writes, “In Coventry’s paintings, the literalism of minimalism, the need to attend carefully to what is there, is complemented by the absorbing power of colour and the exquisite feeling it generates.” (“Colour, Composition and Non- Composition: New work by Virginia Coventry”, Liverpool Street Gallery, 2010).
Terence Maloon states, “The most conspicuous deviation from Minimalism in Coventry’s recent work is that it revels in the once-disavowed quality of ‘opticality,’ giving generous play to spatial illusion, making a feature of elusive, shifting surfaces infused with metallic pigments and suffused with ringingly bright, saturated hues, the colours exquisitely pitched and infinitesimally nuanced.” (“Echolocation: Virginia Coventry at the Tin Sheds”, Sydney, 2007).
b. 1942, Melbourne, Australia
Virginia Coventry studied painting in Melbourne (RMIT) and at the Slade School, University College, London. Her artistic practice has primarily involved painting and drawing, while she produced photo-based works and installations throughout the1970’s.
1977 Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide
1979 Art Projects, Melbourne
1980 Watters Gallery, Sydney
Art Projects, Melbourne
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
1982 Art Projects, Melbourne
1986 Watters Gallery, Sydney
1989 Watters Gallery, Sydney
1991 Watters Gallery, Sydney
Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney
1992 La Trobe Valley Arts Centre, Morwell
1993 Watters Gallery, Sydney
1995 Watters Gallery, Sydney
1997 AGOG, Canberra
1998 Watters Gallery, Sydney
2001 Watters Gallery, Sydney
2002 Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra
2003 Watters Gallery, Sydney
2004 The Light of Open Spaces: A Survey of Virginia Coventry’s Work, The Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, Canberra, Curated by Terence Maloon
2005 Watters Gallery, Sydney
2006 Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra
2007 In Place, Tin Sheds Gallery, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney
2008 Silvershot Gallery, Melbourne
2010 Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney
Director: James Erskine
Gallery Manager: Sarah Hetherington
Gallery Assistant: Juliet Gauchat
243a Liverpool Street
East Sydney NSW 2010
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
T +61 2 8353 7799
F +61 2 8353 7798
Established in September 2003, Liverpool Street Gallery is a commercial gallery, exhibiting Australian and International contemporary art.
The gallery represents both established and emerging Australian artists, including: John Beard, Kevin Connor, Virginia Coventry, Steven Harvey, Daniel Hollier, Christopher Horder, Anwen Keeling, Allan Mitelman, Guy Peppin, David Serisier, Jeannette Siebols, Peter Sharp, Aida Tomescu, Kate Turner, Dick Watkins and Karl Wiebke. Liverpool Street Gallery also exhibits the work of Rick Amor, Gunter Christmann, John Kelly (UK) and Kevin Lincoln, as well as solo exhibitions of the international artists Tony Bevan (UK), Jennifer Lee (UK), The Estate of Jon Schueler (USA) and Enrique Martínez Celaya (USA).
Whilst predominantly exhibiting innovative abstract, realist and figurative painting, Liverpool Street Gallery also exhibits sculpture, limited edition prints and a variety of works on paper. The exciting combination of different media and diverse artists aims to encourage both collectors and admirers of contemporary art