POINT OF REFERENCE
Tracey Walker
24 January to 05 February 2012
Walker’s works possess a simple, striking beauty, hovering between sculpture, painting and object. Thick black substrates, hard linear markings and impersonal blocks of aluminium are countered by delicately rendered landscapes which seem to glow from within.
The strong aesthetic qualities in Walker’s work arise from an exhaustive process, in which the artist combines etching and burnishing with washes of acrylic and oil paint. This evokes a landscape in constant transition according to the vagaries of time passing, sun cycles and delicate, seasonal changes. These luminous images are fleeting impressions of landscapes under threat. The suggestion is that constant urban development creates divisions, artificial separation and the re-configuration of elements – an intrusive, overlaid pattern creeping inexorably across the natural world.
In some respects the artist appears philosophical about the relationship between humankind and nature, particularly in the way that harmony and balance prevail in her work. However, at the same time, she reminds us of the way beautiful tracts of the country are at the mercy of bureaucratic circumstances, consigned at the stroke of a pen to the fate of sub-division into impersonal housing and industrial estates. Thin but prominent red lines appear randomly over the surface and signify barriers or danger – warnings against complacency in preserving the environment.
Works are sometimes assembled in several pieces to allow the panels to be interchanged and compositions to be read horizontally or vertically. Walker invites the viewer to ponder the work either as a series of component pieces, or to read the composition as a coherent whole. From a distance, the works are powerful graphic statements that invite you to come closer to take in the fine detail and delicate painterly effects.
Walker’s paintings ultimately remind us that the timeless grandeur and beauty of the landscape is uniquely tied to our identity as New Zealanders - priceless and worth preserving.
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