The Aroma of Black (Part III)
Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
9 December – 9 January, 2016
For The Aroma of Black (Part III) Paterson returns to his exploration of textile traditions. Where earlier works borrowed from fabrics he associated with the maternal side of his family, these new works take their inspiration from botanical subjects and reference still life paintings by 17th century Dutch painters. His ideas are translated into carefully constructed glitter paintings which, for the first time at Gow Langsford Gallery, use a more intricate method that creates smoother, more graduated depth to the textured surfaces.
The European, particularly Dutch flower trade has a rich history that has fascinated Paterson. For a period in the 1600s flowers were extraordinarily expensive. At the peak of “Tulip Mania” bulbs were more costly than gold and some single tulip bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual wage of a skilled craftsman. Subsequently painted flowers by artists like Jan Davidsz de Heem, Willem van Aelst and Jan Brueghel provided a way for people to access flowers that were otherwise prohibitively expensive.
Like the lush still life paintings by Dutch masters Paterson’s new works are set against black backgrounds. The floral images themselves are sharp-edged and softly lit, showing extravagant detail and precision. The connection to their historical counterparts is reiterated in the thick, ornate frames that convey a further sense of opulence. For Paterson the frames also operate as “windows” offer a sense of looking through, adding further depth to the paintings. Some works, such as From Landscaping Stock and Cage Fighter, also have a distinctly pacific feel.