13 JUNE – 14 JULY 2012
"Metalepsy" is the eagerly anticipated third solo exhibition of New Zealand based painter Julian Hooper at Gallery 9.
Inseparable from his practice is Hooper’s continual interest with his Hungarian and Tongan heritage and the complex story surrounding his Transylvanian ancestor’s passage to New Zealand via Tonga and Fiji. Combining imagery of indigenous Polynesian stereotypes with those from a bygone, colonial European era, Hooper continually explores and challenges the sensationalised, sexualised paradigm described by Iberian explorers and subsequent Europeans in the South Pacific such as Gaugin. His works have also studied the figure through gestalt principles, depicting human forms made up of unlikely combinations of still life including domestic paraphernalia, fruit and fish. Hooper’s surreal imagery fashions shells as faces and metallic urns as bodies with arms and employs naturally occurring shapes and contours to suggest poses and movement. While the constituent elements may still be recognised, their proximity and similarity – as understood in terms of gestalt framework – enliven the painted figures and animate scenes of intrigue.
For this exhibition Hooper has intentionally approached his work without predicted outcomes in mind, borrowing from the literary concept of metalepsis, also referred to as frame-breaking, whereby the narrator abandons this role to interact directly with characters and the plot. Hoopers’ works, although commenced with his typical imagery have evolved throughout this process to achieve new compositional arrangements with a noticeably abstracted forms and grounds. Hooper describes Metalepsy in his own words as:
“the inversion of cause and effect … that we don’t have thoughts, thoughts have us [and that] the maker of these paintings did not exist until they were finished.”
Julian Hooper is represented in the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art collection as well as major collections throughout New Zealand such as the Chartwell Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the University of Auckland collection, Dunedin Public Art Gallery. In 2012 Hooper’s work features in Post Planning curated by Bala Starr at The Ian Potter Museum of Art (University of Melbourne, 31 March – 22 July).