SARAH MUNRO: REDSHIFT

14 October - 8 November 2008

Resembling prototype designs for supersonic cars or products yet to be realised Munro's 'futuristic minimalism' comprises presence and absence, shapely contour and geometric line, reduction and extrusion.

 

Redshift features nine wall mounted three dimensional paintings developed from CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings. Munro generates these shapes in a technologically advanced drawing program by using as her starting point the most pared-back basic building blocks of drawing; the straight line, the angled line and the curve.  All forms in the exhibition are generated using the same set of CAD reference points, the various profiles are created through digitally pulling one point forwards or backwards.

 

Limiting herself to the same set of points, lines and colour palette allows Munro to conduct a detailed study into the play of light and tonal variation on a particular surface.  She plays off the real with the virtual by using the fictitious shadows and highlights generated within the CAD software and applying them across the support using an automotive paint system. To create the flawless tonal gradients of colour, each work is created through paint applied in finely sprayed coats, then covered with layers of high gloss and finally laboriously hand polished. Ironically the super manufactured finish is lovingly and laboriously hand made. The glassy sheen of the final surface could allude to the glass of the computer screen under which the object was originally drawn. Alternatively it could relate to the 'hot-rod' lustre of a luxury car, acknowledging the place of art works within a continuum of possible painted objects.

 

'Redshift' is a scientific phenomenon, referring to the way in which visible light shifts towards the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum when an object is moving away from the observer.

 

The vibrant red paintings in this exhibition seem to leap off the wall at the viewer, and things we associate with red, fast cars, lipstick, a red evening dress, are all things that move towards the viewer at quite a pace, both visually and ideologically. In other ways however, the works move away from us, they are in some ways impenetrable, with their shiny surface and pop minimalism feel.

 

Although the works themselves are static forms, many movements and shifts occur the longer one spends in front of them. The sleek curves and prefabricated shadowing act in such a way that the works seem to switch from concave to convex before ones very eyes. And as the viewer moves around the exhibition the profiles of the works mirror each other becoming strange doppelgangers for a moment and then shifting again.

Munro completed her Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of Auckland in 2005 and in the following year was the recipient of the prestigious Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago. She has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand.