Allyson Reynolds moth song
Allyson Reynolds moth song Essay by Daniel MafĂŠ
Allyson Reynolds Moth Song First published in Australia in 2011 by artHIVES 85 Doggett Street Newstead, Queensland 4006 www.arthives.com firstname.lastname@example.org
on the occasion of the exhibition Moth Song at Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London in January 2012. Copyright 2011 © artHIVES holdings PTY LTD Text Copyright 2011 © Daniel Mafé Images Copyright 2011 © Allyson Reynolds www.allysonREYNOLDS.com ISBN 978-0-9871970-1-6 Printed in USA All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.
dustjacket image moths 10 (detail) 2011 oil on linen 160 x 120 cm title page image score for imagined sound 21 (detail) 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm following page moths 4 (detail) 2011 oil on linen 160 x 120 cm
Of repetition and of song by Daniel MafĂŠ 11
score for imagined sound
Of repetition and of song Daniel Mafé
“There is always sonority in Ariadne’s thread.” Allyson Reynolds, for many years now, has been a keen student of nature. Nature’s forms have always been important to her work, but it would be wrong to see Reynolds as simply transcribing directly from the natural world. For this artist, nature and the natural world represents an elusive invitation and so Reynolds doesn’t so much paint from nature, although resemblance and imitation are clearly evident, as work to render visually and emotionally tangible this invitation. And for a viewer this is no small thing as the invitation is to become attuned and connect with nature as it exists in ourselves, that is to see as nature. Reynolds’ is inviting us as viewers to connect and participate with the nature of nature that is evident in ourselves through the act of perceiving. Reynolds’ work can do this because it is a work born of deep evocation. The sensibility from which it emerges or is transacted is poetic, intensely so, but more than that it works to make of viewing an act of poetry, through a celebration of seeing. Reynolds evocation is born of a deep feeling towards and contemplation of the natural world - it is as though the world lives in her and is now a seamless part of her creative vocabulary. In such personal work there is a profoundly felt and revealed sense of the intimate and like true intimacy it revels in both its dark and quiet, as well as its playful and light, aspects. What is special about Reynolds’ visual poetry is that it able to render this intimacy so accessible. It is an accessibility that is available for the viewer who is able to not only look but also surrender to that looking, accepting and working with the flow of thoughts and associations it occasions.
“But the song itself is already a skip: it jumps from chaos to the beginnings of order in chaos and is in danger of breaking apart at any moment.” As a whole, Moth Song is marked by the mechanism of repetition or refrain. It is through the dynamic of repetition that the works are constituted. The motif of this repetition is the moth. In a way this entire body of work is constituted as a song constructed as a two-part melody, a melody nurtured by an involved and prolonged study of the moth. I will look at this two-part melody one aspect at a time. The first should be understood as a taxonomy of sorts. Each painting functions as a taxonomy not in the way of science but rather as a wunderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities, where homage both real and imagined is paid to the moth as fluttering wonder. The painted elements of these works swarm as though before an unseen light source, engaging in a veritable ecstasy of motion and type, real and imagined. These taxonomies of Reynolds are vibrant meditations - subtly yet luminously and joyously coloured. They are each a liquid reverie of paint that dream moth-entities into being. Up close they are magical. Paint pools, and flows, and blends, all emergent and fulgent. From a distance these paintings appear to radiate their own clean and clear light as they frame, within the white of their ground, a plethora of subtle and vibrant colour contrasts as scintilla. All here is as radiant joy. They revel in what feels like a celebration of the very luminosity attendant in living itself. They bear material witness to the miracle of nature’s proliferation and the sheer overwhelming variety of type and difference in nature’s life-forms and species. “The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilising calm and stable, centre in the heart of chaos.” The second aspect of the two-part melody acts like the first’s shadow. It is a musically complex yet exquisitely subtle drone of imagined sound, scored for our mind’s ear by Reynolds in sombre yet smouldering atmospheric shifts of monochromatic tone. The second part is called Score for Imagined Sound and seems on the surface a very different body of work. Its origins are in a series of works made a number of years ago that detailed investigations of
moths’ wings as seen through a microscope - the scaling observed provided a template for a more directly process orientated approach in making which consisted of covering the canvas with closely drawn parallel marks. Oddly, the process of their making is uncannily similar to the previous work. Paint is laid down of differing consistencies and densities and allowed to find its own way as the amount of medium used is varied. Sometimes the paint will pool and flow almost wildly while at other times it is disciplined and striated, giving rise to the overall striped feel of their construction. These are subtle and complex works, silky smooth and masterful in both their vision and their form. And yet such rigorously constructed work offers a surprisingly broad range of poetic images. On the one hand these richly sombre works seem attuned to or capable of channelling the barely audible basso profundo that emanates from the dark mass of the earth itself. And on the other hand these are paintings of the night, maybe the nocturnal reveries or songs of the moth itself. Repeated, chanted, and intoned are terms that recur for me in looking at these paintings. There are subtle perceptual and conceptual shifts and twists to viewing this work - what one knows to be there is not necessarily the same as what one sees or imagines. The viewer’s seeing is occasioned to both create and dream and in this way seeing becomes generative. Seen in its entirety as a single, long, assembled mural, it presents a terrible but also a wonderful mineral landscape, composed of molten, curtained, crystalline forms ever shifting, a rhythmic field of breathing, inspiring delight, awe and wonder. “One ventures from home on the thread of a tune.” Moth Song is a richly contrasting body of work - a two-part melody. As a whole and in its subtle and evocative way, it sings of joy, life and death, light and dark, abundance, difference and variegation; all is accepted. Moth Song is a song we need to pay attention to and we can only be grateful that Allyson Reynolds has sung it so adeptly and with such feeling.
All quotes are from “Of the refrain”, in A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guatarri.
moths 1 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm (detail on following pages)
moths 2 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
moths 3 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm (detail on following pages)
moths 4 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
moths 5 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm (detail on following pages)
moths 6 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm (detail on following pages)
moths 7 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
moths 8 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
moths 9 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
moths 10 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm (detail on following pages)
score for imagined sound
previous page score for imagined sound 10, 11 & 12 right score for imagined sound 10 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 11 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 12 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
previous page score for imagined sound 13, 14 & 15 right score for imagined sound 13 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 14 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 15 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
previous page score for imagined sound 16 & 17 right score for imagined sound 16 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 17 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
previous page score for imagined sound 18 & 19 right score for imagined sound 18 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 19 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 20 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
score for imagined sound 21 2011 oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
Education 1989-91 Bachelor of Arts, Visual Arts, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Employment
1991-93 Coordinator, The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space, Dayboro, Queensland. 1993-.... Co-founder and Co-director, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane, Queensland. Gallery representation Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane, Australia Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, New York and International Art Fairs
Individual exhibitions 2012 2010 2009 2008 2008 2007 2006 2004 2003 2001 1999 1998 1997 1995 1992
‘moth song’, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. ‘returned works’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘film’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘film’, Museum of Brisbane. ‘score for imagined sound’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘pneuma’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Nocturnus’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Scale’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Lepidopterae’, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. ‘From Moths’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Millaa Millaa’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Ink’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Paintings’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘Drawings’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. ‘First Solo Show’, The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space, Dayboro.
score for imagined sound 1 to 9 2008 oil on linen 120 x 1,440 cm
Selected group exhibitions
2011 The Afforable Art Fair Singapore, 17 - 20 November. 2011 Art Melbourne, 19 May - 22 May. 2011 The Affordable Art Fair New York, 5 May - 8 May. 2011 The Affordable Art Fair London, 10 March - 13 March. 2011 London Art Fair, 19 January - 23 January. 2010 ‘30 SQUARE - Christmas 2010’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2010 Art Sydney, 11 November - 14 November. 2010 The Affordable Art Fair New York, 6 May - 9 May. 2010 Glasgow Art Fair, 25 March - 28 March. 2010 Art Toronto, 28 October - 1 November. 2010 The Affordable Art Fair, London - 21 October - 24 October. 2010 Art London, 7 October - 11 October. 2010 The Affordable Art Fair New York, 29 September - 3 October. 2010 20/21 British Art Fair, 15 September - 19 September. 2010 Utrecht Open Art Fair, 8 September - 12 September. 2010 The Henley Festival, 7 July - 11 July. 2010 San Francisco Fine Art Fair, 21 May - 23 May. 2009 ‘Points of View: Contemporary Landscapes’, Kickarts, Cairns. 2008 ‘30 SQUARE - Christmas 2008’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2007 ‘30 SQUARE - Christmas 2007’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2007 Royal Over-Seas League Scholars Exhibition, 5-21 October, the.gallery@oxo, London. 2006 ‘30 SQUARE - Christmas 2006’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2005 ‘Christmas 2005’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2005 Toronto International Art Fair, 3 - 7 November. 2005 ‘Lingua Franca’, Arc Biennial, Brisbane City Hall, 28 - 30 October. 2005 AAF Contemporary Art Fair New York, 27-30 October. 2005 20/21 British Art Fair, Royal College of Art, 14-18 Sep. 2005 ‘The Insectary: Walking with Bugs and Insects’, Redland Art Gallery (In association with the Queensland Museum), 20 March – 3 May. 2005 Affordable Art Fair - Battersea - Spring, London, 17 - 20 March. 2005 ‘Object/Subject’, Museum of Brisbane, 18 February - 8 May. 2005 London Art Fair, 19 - 23 January. 2005 Palm Beach Contemporary Art Fair, Florida, 13 - 19 January. 2004 Gold Coast City and Conrad Jupiters Art Prize. 2004 The Affordable Art Fair New York City , 28 - 31October. 2003 ‘Christmas 2003’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane.
2003 Toronto International Art Fair, 13 - 17 November. 2003 The Affordable Art Fair New York City, October 30 - November. 2003 The Affordable Art Fair, London - Autumn Collection, 9 - 12 October. 2002 ‘Christmas 2002’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2002 20/21 British Art Fair, The Commonwealth Insitute, London. 2002 Art London - International Art Fair, Duke of York Barracks, Chelsea. 2001 ‘Christmas 2001’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 2001 Gold Coast City and Conrad Jupiters Art Prize. 2000 ‘Christmas 2000’,Doggett Street Studio Christmas Exhibition. 1998 ‘Nature’, Cooloola Shire Public Gallery, Gympie, Queensland. 1997 ‘The Big Deal’,Doggett Street Studio Christmas Exhibition. 1997 ‘The Alice Prize’, Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment, Alice Springs, Northern Territory. 1997 ‘fields of vision’ eight queensland artists, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns. 1996 ‘on paper in practice’ (an exhibition by 16 artists from Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam and Australia) , Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 1996 ‘one hundred: a survey of the first 100 exhibitions’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 1995 Doggett Street Studio Christmas Exhibition. 1995 Doggett Street Studio at Magazine Space, Pier 9, Brisbane. 1995 ‘Landscape’, Doggett Street Studio, Brisbane. 1994 ‘Years Finale, Christmas Show and Match Box Project’, Doggett Street Studio. 1994 ‘One Year- Selected works celebrating the first year of Doggett Street Studio’. 1993 ‘The Last Show Down’, The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space. 1993 The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space at Magazine Space, Pier 9, Brisbane. 1992 ‘Potential Space : The Butterfactory Touring Initiative’ :Warwick Regional Art Gallery; The Butterfactory; Pine Rivers Council Chambers; Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. 1991 ‘Women’s exhibition’, The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space. 1991 National Graduating Students Exhibition, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth . 1991 First National Student Art and Design Exhibition, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. 1991 ‘9 Brisbane Artists- Sources and Outcomes’, The Butterfactory Studio and Contemporary Art Space.
Scholarships 2006 - Royal Overseas League visual arts travel scholarship, which funded a residency at Hospitalfield House in the town of Arbroath, Scotland. 1992 - Melville Haysom Memorial Art Scholarship, Queensland Art Gallery.
2003 2003 2002 1997 1993
Painting Prize, Pine Rivers Art Award. Rotary Art Award. Painting Prize, Pine Rivers Art Award. Warwick Art Prize. Painting Prize, Pine Rivers Art Award.
Collections • University of Queensland Art Museum. • Artbank, Sydney. • Warwick Art Gallery. • Cairns Regional Gallery. • Queensland Cement Limited. • Wesley Hospital Art Collection. • Ernst and Young, Brisbane. • Sheraton Hotel, Brisbane. • Combined Rotary Clubs of Brisbane. • Firmdale Hotels, Number Sixteen, London. • Brown-Forman, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Selected Publications
• Allyson Reynolds, from soil and stone (2011) including essay ‘A Material Reverie’ by Daniel Mafé, published by artHIVES, ISBN 978-0-9871970-2-3 • Brown, Phil (2006) ‘Overnight sensation’, Brisbane News, 5-11 April 2006, p 25 • MacDermott, Kathy (2002) ‘Galleries galore’, Australian Financial Review, 1 August 2002. • Butler, Sally (1998) ‘Doggett Street Studio’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 5, July 1998. • Stanford, Leonie (1998) ‘Doggett Street Studio’, The Review Independent Monthly, February 1998. • Tiffin, Sarah (1997) ‘Tradition and Transition’, Fields of Vision, exhibition catalogue, Cairns Regional Gallery. • Seear, Lynne and Ravenswood, Kate (1996) ‘on paper, in practice’, Doggett Street Studio exhibition catalogue. • Seear, Lynne (1996) ‘Doggett Street Studio: an overview’, Doggett Street Studio exhibition catalogue. • Ravenswood, Kate (1992) ‘Potential Space: The Butterfactory Touring Initiative’, a Butterfactory exhibition catalogue. • Ravenswood, Kate (1991) ‘Sources and Outcomes’, Eyeline, No.15 pp. 28-29.
Allyson Reynolds is represented by Doggett Street Studio 85 Doggett Street Newstead, Queensland, 4006 Australia T +61 7 3252 9292 www.doggett.com.au email@example.com Rebecca Hossack Gallery 2a Conway Street, Fitzroy Square, London W1T 6BA, UK T +44 0 20 7436 4899 F +44 0 20 7323 3182 28 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2NA, UK T +44 0 20 7255 2828 F +44 0 20 7580 2828 262 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012, USA T (212) 925-3500 www.r-h-g.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography: Jon Linkins, Print Room Editions Dustjacket and detailed images photographed using 216 megapixel Betterlight scanning back. www.printroomeditions.com.au Design and Layout: S. Whitaker, artHIVES www.arthives.com Font: Corbel
Published on Nov 25, 2011