More than meets the eye by Harry Bartle
Northland-based artist Jack Trolove uses swathes of oil paint, in thick lumps and thin stretches, to create enormous faces. Opening on the 24th of July until the 30th of October at Pātaka Art + Museum, Thresholding is where Wellingtonians can see Trolove’s works up close, but this time with an exciting twist.
The exhibition will be displayed with the lights off, in the hope the artworks will be “felt before they are seen”, Trolove explains. “Under modulated lighting – passing through dusk, midnight, and dawn – the paintings will disappear and reappear, wake and sleep.”
The gallery space is painted a deep midnight blue, and the lights rise slowly from darkness into dawn and then pass back through during dusk. The paintings can be seen during these threshold times, resulting in the works almost shapeshifting as time passes by. In moments of more natural light, the level of pigment saturation in the oil paint will be at its highest, showcasing the complex, luminous colour palette. As the light drops away, so does the pigment saturation, and the viewer is left to experience the works using their other senses.
The idea for Thresholding came to Trolove one night when he re-entered his studio after dark. His large paintings were perched on blocks around the walls. In the darkness he had an incredible experience feeling the paintings rather than focusing on what they looked like.
“I’m leaning away from the dynamics of a white box gallery and closer toward the black box of theatre with this work,” Trolove says.
“I’ve seen so many incredible shows at Pātaka over the years that have really shaped how I feel and think about visual language, politics, and energy – so it feels pretty magic to be able to build new stories out of paint to return to this beautiful whare.”