Under the skin – Martin Whitworth & Rudolf Boelee
In Under the Skin Christchurch artists Martin Whitworth and Rudolf Boelee use their divergent practices to draw on notions of interiority/exteriority. For Whitworth, the minimalist forms, the postures and glances of the human body rendered in line and colour plane on cut canvas, signal the unstated emotional and physical narratives of his subjects. The suggestion of the unspoken, the incomplete narrative, adds a delicate tension to these works.
Boelee turns his attention to the strange shapes and formations found in the rock outcrops of Governors Bay, the result of a millennial-old process of weathering of ancient lava flows on Banks Peninsula’s primeval volcanic range. These abstract iterations in charcoal and pastel evoke the raw material of this subject matter and the historic volatility of our geological landscape.
“There is a network of cracks which together form ‘cubes’ (think of how a Rubic’s cube is formed), and as the water interacts with these cubes in all three dimensions, it forms these circular patterns. In some places, the fractures are more unidirectional, and so the weathering forms more as layers, rather than circles”
– Dr Paul Ashwell, volcanologist.
Martin Whitworth and Rudolf Boelee first exhibited together in 1985, two years after Whitworth graduated from the University of Canterbury and four years after Dutch-born Boelee’s first exhibition in Christchurch in 1981. Since then Whitworth has developed a strong reputation as a skilled draughtsman, colourist, craftsman and accomplished artist, using minimal lines, flat colour planes and an often-restricted pallet to present a spare, edgey, graphic narrative rich with figurative detail. Rudolf Boelee has worked with screenprint, painting and drawing to explore New Zealand culture, from mid-century modernism and pop iconography to European and Maori identity, immigration and political and environmental issues.