Casting a crisis
Painting a cat
Looking out a window
Michael Lett gallery presents an exhibition of paintings by Oliver Perkins. These works, produced in Perkins’ Lyttleton studio during the national COVID-19 lockdown from April–May 2020, continue a suite of processes for the artist that explore and disrupt the parameters of contemporary painting practice.
Perkins takes the constituent elements of painting production as material for aggregation and intervention. Seen and unseen materials like canvas, cardboard, dye, rabbit skin glue, ink, stretcher bars, dowel, and staples are employed as actors in a network of painting practice to be redistributed and realigned, offering new modes of being with and experiencing painted objects.
Perkins’ works share a suggestion that a painting isn’t something that is made or done—an autonomous and inert object that leaves the studio in a state of completion. Rather, they are objects bound (sometimes quite literally) in a continual state of happening. And so the various inserts, implants, ropes and strings that Perkins employs become means to interrupt and emphasize this constant action.
“These paintings all actively revel in the process of revealing and concealing, they veil certain conditions, only to open up other incidental marks for discovery. In fact, it may be better to think of these paintings as intermediary objects, precisely because they privilege folds, absences, and adjustments.”
– Hamish Win
“As with all Perkins’ works, the paintings possess an immediate, intuitive rightness. The physical elements and colours are in easy balance. Their formal restraint, not to say simplicity, inevitably draws you in close, summoning you to attend to every visible surface and edge, every quirk of the materials and their combination.”
– Francis McWhannell