On Saturday I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Graham Fletcher's new body of paintings called 'Lounge Room Tribalism'. The sampling of Graham's work featured here is the culmination of four years study towards a Doctorate of Fine Art at Auckland University's School of Fine Arts.
A good painting in my view is one that hits you in waves. In the case of these beauties the first wave is delivered by the vibrant colour scheme, the second is the nostalgic familiarity of the 1950s interiors, but after that it's the disconcerting spatial arrangement of the compositions, the signs of human habitation (a pipe on a table, a pot on the stove, a record on a sofa), the peculiarly animistical character of the indoor and outdoor plants, and of course the sentinel like presence of the 'tribal' artefacts occupying each room.
The paintings were inspired in part by Graham's research of the extensive collections of carvings and objects owned by surrealist artists such as Andre Breton and Max Ernst who were captivated by the mystical and supernatural properties of such artefacts and attempted to incorporate these qualities into their own work. The inspiration for the paintings also came from Graham's visits to the homes of a number of prominent figures in the New Zealand art scene where he observed the manner in which culturally specific objects and artefacts were incorporated into the stylish decorative schema of their living spaces, and yet they seemed dislocated and lost, their power somehow diminished by having been removed from their original context and country of origin.
Anyway, as there won't be a public exhibition of the paintings, which are now under examination, I thought it was important to post a few of them here and to congratulate Graham on a fantastic achievement.