Homage to Morris Louis
A young woman springs up, frozen. She gracefully holds a complex pose whilst suspended above an intricate dreamscape, her short shift-dress sports brightly- coloured stripes taken from American artist Morris Louis (1912-1962). Ian Scott’s Homage to Morris Louis is a key work from the artist’s Girlie series made between 1967 and 1970. This body-sized work super-imposes Scott’s unique rendering of a figure from popular culture over landscapes derived from those of Don Binney and Colin McCahon.
Ian Scott’s Girlie paintings of the late 1960s are rife with references to the works of other artists. They were produced at a time when the histories of New Zealand painting were being written and the identification of an authentic local tradition — one rooted in the landscape, the harsh New Zealand light and its clearly delineated forms — was paramount. Scott plays on this history, responding to his predecessors with wit and irony.
– William McAloon
Scott’s combination of Pop-style figures and reshaped landscapes in the Girlie series resulted in paintings which were intensely local in content but international in style.
– Warwick Brown
Born 1945, Bradford (GB). Died 2013, Auckland (NZ)
Ian Scott was a New Zealand painter who, over the course of a fifty-year career, consistently pushed the boundaries of representation and appropriation in New Zealand art. Scott began his career working as a landscape painter, responding to the tradition of hard-edged regionalism that dominated New Zealand art. However, by the early 1970s he began drawing on trends in international Modernism, bringing a much needed internationalism into New Zealand’s parochial scene. In particular, the geometric abstraction of American painters like Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis increasingly informed Scott’s practice.
Other key examples of works from the Girlie series are held in the collections of Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland; Victoria University Art Collection, Wellington; The BNZ Art Collection.