| April 3-27 |
PJ Hickman’s series of eight paintings AB EX is painted with the same paint used on the walls of International Galleries of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) during the exhibition Abstract Expressionism (14 July 2012 – 3 March 2013). Each painting consists of two panels. The text (revealed as exposed canvas) on one panel is an Abstract Expressionist artist’s surname, and the other panel their first name. Each panel has a cardboard box for storage or for display.
The paintings appropriate the names of these artists and the art world generally, including the context and function of the gallery itself. This appropriation creates a new situation and a new meaning or set of meanings unrelated to the specific artists named. As some of the most significant artists of the 20th Century the ‘iconic’ names will be familiar to most viewers, and as such can evoke association with the artist’s oeuvre. Authenticity is contradicted by the declaratory simple and direct appropriation of the artist’s name. Commercial and artistic notions of originality are undermined by the potential reproduction of an identical painting and repetition to order like a product.
The paintings are based on an extreme reductive aesthetic of simplification and repetition. The standardised approach using the same composition, format, materials and support allows the same painting to be painted over and over. Any variation has occurred unintentionally as a result of the painting process. The intention is for simplicity and rigorous economy without deliberate or elaborate intervention and variation.
Hickman’s use of paint used on gallery walls and text of other artists’ names are ongoing approaches in his painting practice. Previous series of paintings using gallery wall paint include Tate Modern, London 2009 (Tate Modern, London), Frank Lloyd White 2004 (Guggenheim NY), and Local Colour 2004 (various Brisbane galleries) in the Collection of Griffith University, Brisbane. Among the series of paintings that use other artist’s names are Anon 2007 (in collection of JP Morgan), and Venice Biennale 2007 2007 and Venice Biennale 2009 2009 (both in the collection of the University of Queensland Art Museum). AB EX is the first series of paintings to combine these approaches using both the paint used on a gallery wall and text of other artists’ names.