Robyn Burgess - 'The Staircase'
Wednesday 4 - Sunday 29 September 2019
Robyn Burgess' paintings continue to latch onto architectural spaces and their structured assemblages – not the habitable spaces she researched for years overseas but internal areas which clamour for the understanding of composition and pictorial strategies in both expansive and entrapped alignment.
These images are carriers of thoughts and feelings so there is still the struggle between pictorial necessity and artistic intention. The paintings share layering, textured surfaces, suggestion and time; they are somewhat resistant to one’s natural search for literal meanings – they savour the process of painting, the physical properties of paint and what a painting is. In reality, the paintings Spill and Standing in the Dark are big empty canvases waiting for an image, leaning against the studio wall. In the artist's world, they are finished paintings, loaded with questions. They imply absence over representation, a narrative without a story.
Burgess walks up the stairs to her studio loft every day, but she can never truly know what will happen or how she will react to yesterday’s work. Burgess does know that the space is always a mess, things everywhere; but it is the stuff of research, comfort and tactics. The staircase to her studio is in the family home; when she arrives at the top and closes the door, she knows she is elsewhere.
Standing in the Dark is a sombre work – it’s title hints at the repetitive practice of turning the studio lights out at night to think in semi-darkness – willing the choices made between structure and accident to speak to her. The ‘present’ is an instant, but the paintings telltale texture holds time in abeyance. Burgess often thinks painting is odd; for her destruction lies at the heart of the creative process and her paintings harbour both calculated ideas and spontaneous impulses. As in life, if it were not for hope the heart would break.