IF SQUARES COULD TALK
19 JUNE – 13 JULY 2013
Gallery 9 is excited to host this exhibition of work by Sydney based artist Stuart Watters. If squares could talk presents Watters’ most recent series, a collection of large abstract paintings. In Watters’ commentary about this body of work he alludes to a common ground his works share with the geometric forms painted by early modernist painters. However, unlike the utopian ambitions sought by modernist sensibilities, Watters believes his work diverges from idealism and presents imagery reminiscent of an upheaval’s aftermath. Watters’ compositions are collapsed, tangled forms which appear drowned in a sea of thick paint, and in his words, resemble some kind of multi-limbed beast, contorted and awkward. It is the intentionally unplanned and intuitive approach to painting an unseen subject which Watters has been compelled by in the production of these works. He believes this aspect of his practice is akin to a larger historical shift in contemporary painting and like many contemporary practitioners considers abstract painting now operates beyond the rhetoric of modernism. In a recent Artist Profile [issue 22, March 2013 p 126] Watters claimed a sense of “solidarity with a generation of painters … who think it necessary to take back the centre of painting left blank in the wake of late Modernism.’ After compiling investigative drawings, Watters’ paints with a distinct abstract language which draws from basic geometric form in an attempt to paint freely from the burden of originality and resistant to any fixed meaning. Rather than reference and abstract from a represented subject this approach to painting embraces an alternate mode of narrative creation. In Watters’ conception of the paradigm, the potential meaning is loaded in the painted surface. Watters holds a Master of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW and currently lectures in painting and drawing at the Australian Catholic University, Sydney. Since the 1980s he has held solo shows with well known Sydney Galleries including Hogarth, Crawford, Kaliman and Boutwell Draper and has been a finalist in major prizes including the Redlands Westpac Contemporary Art Prize, The Fishers’ Ghost, The Salon des Refusés and Dobell Prize. His work is found in the collections of Artbank, the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and the UNSW Art Collection as well as corporate and private collections overseas.