Renee Cosgrave and Merryn Lloyd, Aug 2013

Renee Cosgrave and Merryn Lloyd, Window Painting

Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Caulfield; 4 August – 21 September 2013

Renee Cosgrave and Merryn Llod, 'Window Painting' (2013) (detail)

Renee Cosgrave and Merryn Lloyd, Window Painting (2013) (detail)

Renee and Merryn bring their compulsive energies to bear on a section of large window panes at MUMA and deliver a two-fold work that unpacks like mulit-dimensional origami. Two-fold because the window painting is both external surface image and internal spatial installation; multi-dimensional because it also brings temporality to the party, and the occasion is so much richer for the marriage.

From the outside of the museum you get to witness a vivid colour-play of blocked brushstrokes. Parrying forward in a double jab – colour (bang!), mark (bang!) – form wears process like a badge of honour. On the inside of the museum light filters through the painting and it’s impossible not to feel the sacred call of heavenly connotations tied up in cathedral stained glass. The space is flooded with the work as it bleeds in off the glass, carried inward by rays of light, and spills across the floor.

What marks this work out, beyond its obvious visual pleasure, is the process of its creation. The artists invited participants to assist them in producing the work, guided by a set of established parameters. Working not only as a collaborative pair, Renee and Merryn draw in a collaborative engagement with the support staff of the institution and the intended audience of the work. This networked connection from artist-to-work-to-gallery-to-audience reflects growing interest in relational practices, and system/network ideas for both the creation and interpretation of art. It also relates beautifully with aspects of Simon Starling’s work, which features as the main museum exhibition at MUMA.

Guided by limits of form (participants could only paint a block of colour), of gesture (non-objective only), and of colour (restricted palette and a change of colour every hour), the work emerged under its own force of logic. Each colour block carries the brushstroke fingerprint of its maker, imbuing the work with a communal-quilt sensibility, and all the attendant notions that come with that.

The outcome is a delightfully captivating and energetic temporary inclusion onto the facade of the museum. It’s up until 21 September.

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