Karin Lind, Peter Holm (Copenhagen)

Kyle Jenkins, Billy Gruner, Mikala Dwyer and John Nixon (Sydney)

John Nixon first met Danish artists Peter Holm and Karin Lind at the opening of the Albert Mertz retrospective at Nikolaj in Copenhagen on 5 feb 1999. John was introduced to them by Kent Hansen an artist colleague of theirs. The next day they drove together with friend gallerist Tommy Lund to see exhibitions in the Albert Mertz retrospective in two regional towns. They have been friends ever since. John organised their first Australian visit with solo exhibitions at CBD Gallery in Sydney, and the KLPHKJBGMDJN ensemble showing at Five Walls represents the further development of close relationships stemming from that encounter. As individuals they have visited and worked for and with each other’s projects, programs, and cities over many years. The KLPHKJBGMDJN show is proudly presented by SNO, ICAN and Five Walls, with funding sourced from Arts NSW.

Karin Lind is renown for her ability to skillfully deploy her knowledge of sculpture, drawing, installation and landscaping. Often through the use of everyday phenomena to construct performative elements, Lind’s specialised built works and transparent grids explore and interpret various spatial dimensions, locations, or site. The reductive works can be experienced as both public and private, and a registration of the voids and joints formulates a reading of space. Large or small they can be about the urban or the solitary, or seen more abstractly where narrative conditioning dissolves into a widening and free-forming lexical set of meanings.

Peter Holm’s work is about an advancing of painting, sculpture and installation at once. It is dedicated to artistic development through being both historically informed and contemporaneously critical. He describes the reductive pieces (paintings, chairs, car doors, etc) as objects sensitive to colour and atmosphere. These painted objects are constructed via a precise intent and the ‘atmosphere’ of the work provides the crucial art-critical reading. However, as his is an oeuvre further characterised by its special nature or, expression of the whimsical, the ideas of the work are formulated along the way and revised accordingly.

Kyle Jenkins practice is concerned with aspects of intuitive abstraction incorporating hard-edge and organic abstraction. Shifting methodologies of mark-making transpose into spatial narratives situated within painting, collage, photography, objects, maquettes, books, film, wall paintings and works on paper. This is an oeuvre aiming to expand upon aesthetic possibility and structure, as a way of examining the world as a series of abstract constructs. The overlapped and the fractal are both technique and a strategy. Jenkins work seen as a whole is a series of relational forms that create a system of references, hybrids, negotiation and reinterpretations from work to work and image to image.

Billy Gruner in recent times has focused on a socialised experimentation with monochrome painting, studio works, sculpture and curating exhibitions of groups of interested art makers both here and abroad. His notion of ‘Post Formalism’ as a theoretical visitation on the alternate histories of modernism – from Art Concrete to the Banal Art of the late 1990s – enlivens the reading of the works he presents. Importantly, it is how historical events and meta-themes have become factors of significant influence on many artists after the 20thc that in particular informs his production of radical/monochromatic forms of Painting. That process forms a key thematic and the small painted works referring to the Chevron form are often made fast and from poor materials. That is a deliberated punk aesthetic which understates the actual critical evaluation taken place.

Mikala Dwyer makes contemporary installations and performance on ‘the void’. But also objects, ceramics, and monochrome paintings while understated put to task our shared readings of installation and sculpture in circulation. It is work full of uncertainties and polarities. While Dwyer’s complex oeuvre refutes definitive interpretations – it is social – the viewer needs to embrace its sheer presence in order to find their own meaning – and it is that open-endedness or discussion about the unseen space/between/form, that also refers to hidden histories, magic, memory and rites. The small, playful nail polish monochromes exude a kind of strange darkness, suggesting that something more lurks beneath or around.

John Nixon’s ongoing EPW (Experimental Painting Workshop) series belies the fact he also works with experimental music, photography, drawing and collage, and is an independent curator and exhibition maker. These aspects further underscore a thorough understanding of contemporary art and its critical conditions today. As such his contemporary oeuvre interrogates the medium of painting with a consistent and varied series of work that delivers colour through the motif of critical abstractionist experimentation. And that production is charged with a clear understanding of regional and international discourse. Nixon’s radical painting projects and constructed visual and audio compositions stand out as a uniquely professional catalogue raisonne of critical development in the genre of contemporary Australian non-objective art.

Chantal Wynter in conversation with Billy Gruner

‘KLPHKJBGMDJN Copenhagen / Sydney ‘

March 2013