Bryan Spier: History Paintings

3 July - 15 August 2015

Bryan Spier: History Paintings was the artist's fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, and built upon ideas explored in his previous solo exhibitions Heavy Images (2013), Simultaneous Paintings (2011) and Expandable Paintings (2010). However History Paintings saw a substantial shift in Spier's studio process with his new paintings not planned or designed in advance, rather they were discovered as they progressed and the bold geometric compositions belie the lengthy process of doubt, erasure and layering underpinning their structure. 


The exhibition's title, History Paintings, seems in conflict with these works of pure abstraction that offer visual sensation in the place of weighty subject matter. However, like 'History Painting' proper, Spier's compositions offer the compression of time into instantaneous moments of perception, and cohese swathes of information into compact pictorial objects. 


In Spier's History Paintings blocks of highly keyed colour function to redact sequences of events, creating broad composite shapes that follow sinuous connections. Glimpses of phantom shapes and textures allude to underlying structures and alternative paths not taken. Spier's works replicate an historical process by selectively mapping the actions, gestures and mistakes that issue from the blank canvas at the beginning of each painting to the articulated fragmentation at the end.