Melbourne based artist Bryan Spier works across painting and installation creating meticulously constructed Abstractionist works that question the idea of painting in a world saturated with the digital and the technological. Like much pure abstraction, his paintings are largely self-referential and Formalist, in that they address the compositional elements of colour, line, shape and texture. Inspired by the colour theories of Johannes Itten and Joseph Albers – specifically the abstract yet demonstrative illustrations that accompany their texts – Spier uses the principles of colour mixing in his paintings to add, divide and multiply structural shapes into increasingly complex compositions. But, while colour is the chief protagonist in Spier’s paintings, he doesn’t seek to instruct the viewer on colour theory, rather his highly constructed and complex works push at the limits of abstract painting. As such, he deploys a number of tactics to generate his imagery: in addressing one of the fundamental problems of abstraction — namely, how to start a picture — he locates found objects such as incidental shapes within other paintings. These form the basis of new shapes that combine to create a tension within each painting and between each new suite of works.
BRYAN SPIER graduated from the Canberra School of Art (Painting) in 1998 and completed a Master of Visual Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2005. He has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally with his recent solo and group exhibitions including History Paintings, Sarah Scout Presents (2015); Pretend Paintings, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale (2015); Heavy Images, Sarah Scout Presents (2013); Simultaneous Paintings, Sarah Scout Presents (2012); Shifting Geometries, Embassy of Australia, Washington DC (2012); Colour Bazaar, Heide Museum of Modern Art (2011); Networks; Cells and Silos, Monash University Museum of Art (2011); Expandable Paintings, Sarah Scout Presents (2010); Dots and Pithy Sequences, Ryan Renshaw, Brisbane (2009) and Rules, Seventh Gallery (2008). Spier was a founding member of Dudespace, Brunswick and together with Steven Rendall, is part of the ongoing collaborative project Rendall&Spier. Spier is a current PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Canberra School of Art.