11 April – 6 May 2011
Carey Merten exhibits an impressive suite of minimal paintings in her fist Tasmanian solo show New Work at 146 ArtSpace.
According to Carey the stark and refined black, red, and white paintings are highly influenced by Minimalism and and the repetitive patterns of Islamic art. She identifies her art practice with the Neo-minimalism movement, which she feels “embraces pure strains of abstraction with the idea that the viewer can transcend: much the same as Islamic art of the 7th century and beyond.”
Her formal investigations of geometry and spatial play are principally realised through her use of the grid and cross; recurring motifs that are central to Carey’s visual language and have been persistent in her work for over a decade.
In the 1920’s Russian painter Kasimir Malevich staked his claim as a founder of non-representational art through his emblematic work Black Cross, which depicts a singular black cross in solitary white space. Indeed Kasimir’s influence as a precursor to Minimalism is evident (even today) in Carey’s body of work with the recurrence of the black cross as a chief signifier her painting.
Carey says of her work: “I believe in the formalist tradition that everything necessary to comprehending an artwork is contained within the artwork itself; and does not need clarification by the artist’s lifestyle, or history. Thus the artwork becomes a painted surface as distinctive object.”
The seemingly simple compositions of her paintings create a dynamic visual paradox between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space.
On the surface, Carey’s paintings appear typical of a Minimalist aesthetic and there is no denying the reductive, meditative and steely presence evident in the work.
However, unlike Minimalism’s absence of the artist’s hand, Carey’s viscous use of paint reveals the substance of the artist’s gesture; the subtle variations colour and consistency on the canvas.
“My artwork is limited by a reduced palette and hard-edge lines with continued geometric forms which boarder on illusion” she says.
Carey’s paintings are represented in the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and Private Collections throughout Australia including the Tasmanian Government’s Art Site Scheme.
New Work is on show at 146 ArtSpace, 146 Elizabeth Street, Hobart from 11 April – 6 May 2011.
Image: Black, white, graphite, 2010 - Carey Merten
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist