4 – 31 October 2018, Muse Gallery By Megan Seawright
The Dahlia, a quintessential flower, bright and bold with multiple petals. When spring arrives it’s a burst of colour we often seek. Good timing then this spring month with frequent collaborators Jo Blogg and Fane Flaws’ latest exhibition ‘The Plastic Flower Show’ where 200 single Dahlias adorn the wall along with seven flower motif paintings by Fane and Jo individually.
Jo Blogg’s multitude of pretty is a refreshing wander down the garden path of dignity and elegance, like the Victorian meaning for the flower itself. Each is a slight variant of the other, an addition toward the whole. Jo Blogg is known for working in multiples, she finds her theme and falls in with repetitious commitment producing refinement to the form she has chosen to work with. The flowers retain their own sensibilities: the soft, oft folded petal with its wee bends and block palette striking our view. Like all works of multiples, there is depth in the numbers. The intrigue is in the palette; build from aqua and green, marigold and bumble bee yellows, tangerine and amber oranges, magenta and maroon, a brickish brown, a coral and rose pink, with lilac and iris strands from purple. The black dahlia is greyed amongst the excess of these floral colour-based references. A bountiful bouquet made linear. The works are painted on acetate, a plastic polymer usually made from plants just as cellophane is from re-generated cellulose a kind of quirky take on plastic, as both are bio-degradable and render each image to be literally plant like. At the opening, it is hard for people to choose the one they like. The palette reflects a variance of mood and disposition for the viewer and from the painter alike. The multiples create a pace and rhythm, an in-built containment attending to perfect, all is carried along via a careful consideration of scale, format, and the surrounding space. These little treasures stand together yet just as easily stand neat by themselves: a tidy package of acetate in a cellophane bag.
I recall Fane talking at Arts Inc in 2017 as guest exhibitor for the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival. He spoke of how he learned his craft as an artist, dipping into the glory box of 20th century painters, mimicking them like a recycler of process. Now days he stands in his own contemporary space. It’s pretty lush. The oils and beautiful gouache: the designers paint, not often seen. We see the thickness, feel the density, a Flaws signature.
Flaws’ perpetual harking to include font in his paintings as in Flowers In The Rain, conveys his commitment to the ‘hand mark’ that defies computer driven graphic. He refuses the idea of strangling a straight line until you know it’s a micro millimetre straight and instead focuses on hiding lyrics in a flower. In works Pascoid Party (1)(2) and Blossom Party, we look at the couple standing at a doorway ready to go in, with the flower pot head lady inside like a cursory hedonistic nod to cubism that seems to filter through a sound distortion, this kind of idea ebbs and flows through all Fane’s work. He is a musician, he’s a painter, a creator, all these self-aspects are unavoidable. They’re apparent in the muse and gossip of his work. One imagines a meeting point. Perhaps like you’re at a gig and you’re just stepping through the door. It’s the call of groove, the sound of trumpets in the background and you want to be part of it, but you just don’t know if you’re going to make it in or be accepted inside the story, into the evening, or the moment. A genuine concern for many artists.
What’s not to love though, Fane Flaws’ work is rousingly creative, so too is Jo Blogg’s. Each to their own, both are fiercely committed artists making their way through their passions; prolific, sincere and genuine talents.
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