Garry Currin and Susan Mabin

Until 13 September, Muse Gallery

Nearing the end of their winter series, MUSE Gallery presents works from Susan Mabin and Garry Currin, alongside smaller/singular presentations of works from Myfanwy Pugh, John Gisborne and Sean Crawford.

Susan Mabin recently completed her Masters in Professional Creative Practice through IDEASCHOOL at EIT and presented MUSE with several figurative plaster-works and two paintings.

Contained by white plaster, Mabin’s figures are literally bandaged into long rectangular bodies vertically disproportionate to their small heads poised on top. Plaster of Paris is such a porous and fragile substance, tough when dry, so it stands to reason the medium from which Mabin works suggests many things; such as the nature of wrapping up our inner worlds, the essential first aid for things broken, and the representative impermanence of plaster itself.

These figures look lost to a moment though, reflecting a bounded and woven encapsulation of space, they are dripping with a rigidity formality and then boxed in at the base from which they stand. Silent expressions render each face almost invisible to the weight of their standing body. And the wonder is noting that the inner presents more physically than physicality itself. Another figure is sprung with metal protrudings. This contemplative man is more proportional, although plugged through metal. Another inescapable wiring of the body with wellbeing kept alive by more than flesh alone. Mabin’s paintings continue in similar notion. Singular faces suspended in void-like backgrounds, lingering through thinned drippings or knifed paint to texture sombre colours. We are presented with an unconscious emotionality – simply a face looking towards us.

Garry Currin born in Whanganui, now lives rurally north of Auckland and offers up five painted landscapes, oil on paper. Currin’s loosening of collaborated realism towards abstraction is sequenced in the hanging of these works. The palette across these works graduates from monochromatic into a wash of rich absorbing gold.

I spent some time simply being with these works because they reminded me of landscapes I have viewed though the windscreen whilst cruising long distances at 100km. Scenes where the approaching landscape looks long to the eye, while referring ones focus also to the immediate foreground. Perspective changeable within each work. And the works felt much like the names; Passage and Poise, in which Currin enters at the horizon, introducing a line of gold to the place to catch your gaze.

With classical progression, by the time we get to The Light of One Day (i) (ii) gold coverts the paper and form is generously wiped away. Light indeed pierces though the darkness behind. When we look to the final work we see landscape abstracted. But not entirely, as – quietly in the top right corner – Currin leaves a lingering landscape – a psychological cloudscape perhaps. Beautiful.

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