subTRACTION (2015)

with Alison Smith
19 – 29  June 2015
Art Systems Wickham

Exploring abstraction as a process.

subTRACTION Invitation_front

While Ahn Wells and Alison Smith are known for their explorations of abstraction as a process, as a way of exploring the visual world, subTRACTION sees both artists honing their focus on concerns of materiality.
Wells has slowly been developing a new body of work on paper and board over the last 12 months. The ordered pattern making and reference to textiles has given way to less formal mark making, and an increased use of paint along with a combination of drawing materials, has emerged. These new works are still influenced by her interest in repetition, order/disorder, surface manipulation and pattern formation, however, they are less concerned with Minimalism and instead have been informed by a new exploration into Abstract Expression.
Smith uses a reduction woodcut process to produce prints that layer colours and forms, lines and patterns. With this exhibition she has explored both traditional hand-carving and more precision-based methods to form her templates. The techniques and materials and the making process itself become part of the work, present in the forms created.
DSC_3538 DSC_3539

Jill Stowell | Newcastle Herald | June 26, 2015, 9:30 p.m

AT Art Systems Wickham until June 28 are recent works that play layering games with abstract forms.

Alison Smith is known for her elaborate woodblock prints, often successively cutting back into the same timber block to create several images in different colours, an exacting technique employed by the great Japanese printmakers.

In the current work she replaces recent rigidly architectonic subjects in solemn colour with curving biomorphic elements in summery pastels, with the translucent overlayering reminding the viewer of the arduous process involved.

Works on paper by Ahn Wells also suggest rounded shapes in apparently spontaneous pattern making. This is a big surprise, a major change in direction from the monochrome pricked or sewn exercises in restrained minimalism that have marked her art practice over many years.

Bold colour contrasts and painterly gesture must be liberating for her, a creative aspect of a very busy new career setting up and running her recently opened gallery at 139 Beaumont Street.