Orange Netherworld
Geoff Newton

(Text to accompany 2006 exhibition at Victoria Park Gallery, Melbourne)

The title of this exhibition reminds me of Bryan’s second solo show in 2000 – Hello World, a deadpan greeting for thousands of fresh artschool graduates to the artworld. Or simply a ‘hullo’ to the general public. No. Before this exhibition, Bryan was making paintings that placed the viewer in the position of an amateur pornographer or voyeur. Video cameras staring out at you in stark grey spaces jostled with clusters of pixels and paint flung. Still action. Cut. The splats of excitement met the flatness and wham. Dragged into an early afternoon AM radio shoot my shirt tangled in the fan made the colours whirl for a second. Had an orgy. No one came.

Itself Pop Will Eat

As this exhibition will attest, Bryan has always done his own thing with style, preferring to extend existing practice rather than simply add to it.

These days Painting can encapsulate a variety of practices from photography to installation – things that operate under the popular banner ‘painterly’.  And painting is happy to lend its aura to other mediums, since it’s like, dead dude.

Bryan seems happy to be kicking the corpse in the guts, peaceful even. His T.C.B exhibition of 2004 depicted scenes of a corporate Spier, resplendent in white collar and tie. While he wasn’t busy beating himself to the floor with a huge wrench, perhaps he smashed the fax machine with a shovel before he knifed the secretary and burned her clothes, chanting Don’t Screw The Crew while building a tee-pee out of office furniture.

Later that year, Bryan transformed part of Westspace into a kind of DIY psychedelic vinyl hideout, plastering the walls and ceiling in bright yellow and red pixels. Final Sunset. Floating in and out of a cracked clammy consciousness glowing orbs scratched at our dull eyes squinting against the glare. Happy ending? Computer says no. I get the feeling our protagonist has a tenuous relationship with technology, at once fawning over a palm pilot, then fuming over a paper jam. He’s already fired the secretary and you’re next.

Agnostic Font

Typo. What’s in an anagram? Bryan completed a Masters at VCA in 2005 and started painting on the walls. Dribbly at first, the works took to the walls with a quick heavy handedness, piercing the white space with thick columns of flat colour and text. Then came the thick leathery live skins of the latest works on PVC vinyl. Tough. The words, as cryptic as they were bold, stood aloft these wobbly totems, threatening to point us in the wrong direction while loudly declaring such sloppy slogans as Low Blow or Dead Bore. The recent works on canvas feel like a good excuse to return to the stuff of painting. Study. To get back to good ‘ol masking tape and what the hell just paint the capital E. Do it a few times. Make a picture. These works seem to be the bastard children of a few late night design jams, gotta be fast and gotta be flat. But precise. And simple. None of this slapdash Greenbergian finger giving. And no bloody serifs.  GN

(Geoff Newton 2006)








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