In Blind Love, Julian Hooper returns to portraiture, a subject he explored previously in the historically themed Liliu and Future’s Counsel series.
Hooper’s portraits emerge out of highly reduced configurations of abstract shapes and motifs. In this exhibition, he transfers the linear style of his drawings to painting, preferring simple black washes and the cream of unprimed canvas to the more intricate and colourful layering of past work. Hooper also introduces an element of collage, with pieces of painted canvas adhered to the front and sides of the supports.
The graphic construction of the work frees the picture of painterly nuance and exploits the reductive simplicity of drawing. This makes room for new complexities, such as the trompe l’oeil painted timber frames, and the inclusion of motifs reminiscent of Cubism and Constructivism. As with all of Hooper’s paintings, these works draw from a deep pool of art historical knowledge. The paintings present themselves as riddles that need to be carefully considered and turned over. They are closer to being masks than portraits, in that they attempt to conceal their personal meanings.
Julian Hooper lives and works in Auckland. He has held over 20 solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and New York. In 2016 he featured in Necessary Distraction, a survey of contemporary New Zealand painting at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Hooper is represented in the Queensland Art Gallery collection as well as major collections throughout New Zealand including the Chartwell and Wallace collections, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the University of Auckland collection.