Bryan Spier, Aug 2013

Bryan Spier, Heavy Images

Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne; 1 August – 31 August 2013

Bryan Spier (image by Phebe Schmidt)

image (c) Phebe Schmidt

Accident marries composure and breeds joy in this delightful show by Bryan Spier at Sarah Scout. Glitch blinks and slips on floating gravitational fields and a perpendicular cartesian grid presses flush up against your corneas. There’s playfulness in experimentation and a sheer exuberance that tugs at the back of your shirt every time you turn around to look at the next piece. Like retina afterimage that floats in the air.

Standing in the centre of the room you are the central vortex of gravity for Bryan’s images. These are abstract compositions created on a flatbed scanner, compressing time and expanding space. If you’ve ever slipped while holding a piece of paper on a photocopier screen, or dragged a photograph accidentally while scanning it, you’ll know of the glitched effect on the image outcome. A moment of action crunched into a space of blur and overlay. Like soundwaves, geiger counters or richter scales, it’s a compression amplified and given intensity.

image by the author

detail of Who Is It? (2013) _ photo by the author

There’s also colour play, compositional games and an engagement of ‘the line’. A sense that red, green, blue and yellow have all broken free of their obligation to serve graphic ends for corporate logos and rushed headlong into the playground to run loose and wild. Even spilling beyond their framed confinement, becoming acetate quadrants and triangles pressed to the wall with pride. Holding themselves aloft as banners for freedom.

Up close a subtle depth of focus enforces the gravitational perpendicularity and uneases the stomach. Like a delicate lurch on an invisible rollercoaster. Pencil marks and dust expose the absent hand of the artist, an overseeing of attempts made and intent played. In The Ideal Copy sections are cut through one image to reveal shapes in an image below, the overlay of prints mirroring the overlay of composition in the scans bringing representational space tumbling out of the frame and into actual space.

A collaborative work with John Nixon, Monochromes, is like a splitscreen video game – Player 1 and Player 2. Here histories are shifted on top of one another, like transparent yellow on blue, producing new temporal colours. An icon gets remixed and a tradition gets refreshed, reinforced and respected.

The scale of the images also works to physical effect, shrinking the viewer to miniature scale as the mind remembers the sweeping light under the glass surface of scanners used at home and paper pieces small enough to handle. The machinery of image capture echoes out beyond the gallery like the ever twitching, printing, flashing system of global activity it has become. Oscillations of virtual and actual spaces reverberating throughout the gallery once again.

Finishes at the end of August.

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