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. As 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.


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.

Spier’s use of vivid colour is alluring and remains to be a prominent feature. Your eyes are encouraged to follow the contours, which change, merge and bounce into different forms, all of which lead you back to the vantage point of observing the work as a whole.

Art Almanac, February 2015.