Gallery Talk

Quick Flip – a game of many halves

24 May · Katrina
Quick Flip – a game of many halves

Quick Flip by Dutch-born, Christchurch-based artist Tjalling de Vries plays with the notion of the fast-fingered playing card and the juxtapositions and swift changes implicit in these works. In an ironic take on the title of one the these works, One trick pony, de Vries delivers a whole hand of painterly “tricks”, drawing on the comic book, the billboard, the shlock horror vampire movie poster and, in the large-than-life painted canvases of One trick pony, the playing card in a restless over- and under-lapping of abstract shapes and figurative form.

Prompting what critic John Hurrell describes as a range of “imaginative couplings”, geometric shapes morph into table top cut-outs while figurative forms skirt the literal line between the bulbous cartoon figures of early animation and abstract compilations of line and colour.

The result is an intriguingly unstill layering of formalist techniques and imagery more associated with low-brow poster art, comic books and advertising emptied of its profit-driven pitch. In this highly egalitarian use of a range of visual forms, “found objects” from a century of art forms, de Vries’ work recalls the weathered paste-up poster wall, the rudimentary shapes and forms of the collage table as well as the sophisticated work of 1950s’ “torn poster” artists Raymond Hains and Jacques de la Villeglé.

Since receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2011, de Vries has been painting on canvas and billboard fragments using a mishmash of found cartoon imagery and gestural painterly marks, figurative and abstract forms, in a manner that is as disorientating as it is compelling. Structured around the principles of collage, the works involve a playful layering of imagery and painterly textures. In this sense, Tjalling’s works are humorous ruminations on the very act of painting.

Quick Flip will close on Friday 14 June.

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