Enter our South Atrium and encounter a major new site-specific commission by artist John Reynolds titled, The Violet Hour.
Even before commencing work on this glass wall John Reynolds engaged with the location as a cue. The space is interpreted as a kind of ending after a long promenade, in which we look south-east towards the cool light of the city's Albert Park. The artwork’s title is lifted from T S Eliot’s seminal post-WWI poem, ‘The Waste Land’ (1922), in which the evening light is layered with endings and a weary stasis.
Following his recent painterly analysis of New Zealand artist Colin McCahon’s disappearance during a high-profile exhibition in Sydney, French Bay Darkly, 2017, Reynolds extrapolates on absence and recovered memory. The composition is formed by a series of hovering painted rectangles which together create a veil over the glass and obscure the aperture.
The work’s form references McCahon’s late painting Flight from Egypt, 1980, in which two round-edged squares recall the windows of the bus that took him out of the city and towards his Titirangi studio after work each day. Here, however, the geometry is lively, brushy and like a brilliant mosaic. Light pushes through different densities of paint, colouring the inside of the building, pouring down the adjacent stairwell, and creating a stained-glass effect. Reynolds emulates the popular genre of sunset painting with a deliberate frivolity that makes the sun dance around the space and lets life outside provide the canvas for painterly movement.
John Reynolds, The Violet Hour, 2019, (installation detail), acrylic and enamel paint on glass.
Commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2019
Supported by the Auckland Contemporary Art Trust
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