Striking new exhibition in Murdoch University Art Gallery
"Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions – Pablo Picasso.
Colour changes us. It’s a powerful tool that doesn’t just signify action, but is capable of changing our mood, our physiological reactions, and the way we respond and behave. If you remain sceptical of its power, I recommend you spend just a few minutes at the current exhibition in the Murdoch University Art Gallery.
Titled CHROMA: purity, saturation and intensity of colour, the exhibition presents a selection of rich, vibrant, contemporary, abstract artworks, all bound together by their uninhibited use of colour. Each work captivates the viewer through the artists use of pure, saturated hues from the whole colour spectrum.Created by a diverse mix of Australian artists, together this collection champions colour, challenging our perceptions of how it can be used, the application no longer simply a technique or skill to be mastered. In this selection of works, colour is fundamental to the artists practice – colour becomes the narrative.
Central to the exhibition is an outstanding work by the acclaimed Chinese-Australian painter John Young Zerunge. Titled Spectrumfigure XIV, it is one of a series of luminous, colour abstract paintings created by the artist in 2018.
Young is well-known for the employment of digital imaging in his paintings and for his engagement with mediums of mass visual reproduction. Original images are channelled through computer programs: blurred and randomness embraced in the collaging of images. Seemingly in contrast, his employment of studio assistants simultaneously resuscitates the intimate craft of oil painting.
The Murdoch University Art Board recently agreed to launch a new fundraising campaign with an aim to acquire a new work for GOLD HORIZON - a special initiative with a mission to expand the University’s Art Collection to commemorate Murdoch University Art Collection’s 50th anniversary in 2024. Spectrumfigure XIV is the artwork that has been selected for the campaign. The painting is an ideal choice for the campaign as it is a significant artwork that perfectly aligns with the Collection’s acquisition category. If you would like further information about the campaign, please email the Art Collection Curator, Mark Stewart.
Zerunge’s work is the only artwork in the exhibition that is not currently part of the University Collection. The remaining works have been gathered from all corners of the campus to create an alluring and immersive colour kaleidoscope.
Originally planned for presentation in 2020, this exhibition was delayed for two years due to the Covid pandemic. However, as the world recovers from the effects of the pandemic and our community returns to studying and working on campus, it seems timely to present an exhibition which rejoices in the power of colour and the uplifting qualities they bring to the spirit.
Image credits top to bottom:
John Young - Spectrumfigure XIV, 2018, oil paint on Belgian linen, 190cm x 150cm - Murdoch University Art Collection’s 50th Anniversary Artwork Fundraising Campaign - Image courtesy of the artist and Moore Contemporary. ⓒ John Young 2022.
Gemma Smith – Boulder # 2 (2008) acrylic plastic, 94cm x 64cm. Purchased 2009.