Exercising the lazy eye at Adelaide Town Hall

Stop, look and take it in, the upcoming Town Hall Gallery exhibition Exercises for Lazy Eyes is all about giving your eyes a work out.

Living in an image saturated world our eyes are becoming lazy, scrolling and flicking through information and images without taking them in. Exercises for lazy eyes, the latest exhibition curated by Andrew Purvis at the Adelaide Town Hall Gallery, brings together a selection of abstract or non-representational painters who are forcing us to slow down and look closely.

“These works offer no easy clues; there are no immediately recognisable faces, shapes or compositions,” Purvis says. “These works might be thought of as pure paintings; liberated from the demand of mimetically reproducing reality, these works celebrate colour, tone and line.”

The exhibition is Purvis’ last in his role as emerging curator and after curating three shows that delved into archival material, and worked with the heritage quality of the Town Hall, Purvis wanted to do shake things up for his last exhibition.

“I want to give your eyes a workout,” he says.

For example emerging artist Max Callaghan’s abstract compositions, which channel experiences and thoughts from his memory, aren’t immediately readable but after you look closely and take time you start to recognise figures and shapes.

“Callaghan gradually builds his compositions through free-flowing, associative connections, creating canvases in which recognisable scraps of visual information jumble together kaleidoscopically to create a vivid sense of mood,” Purvis says.


Max Callaghan, The nights are long dark blue shadows, 2016, oil and lithium on canvas, 89.5cm x 120cm

Another artist featured in the exhibition, Anna Gore, creates abstract paintings made up of carefully considered bold forms and bright colours. Her works are like a starting off point proposing or initiating a conversation rather than suggesting an end point. Gore is particularly interested in the audience’s emotional response and how the work affects people.

Her works featured in Exercises for lazy eyes, are inspired by Gore looking at an orange tree. With the dappled shadows, the green leaves, and how they contrast vibrantly with the oranges, she has transitioned this work into a more monochromatic approach.

By bringing together a selection of artists whose work will inject colour into the space, Purvis is encouraging the audience to slow down and take time to appreciate these works on a deeper level.

“This exhibition also asks us to ponder what it is about these approaches to painting that are continuously stimulating and pleasurable,” Purvis says. “These works acknowledge the influences of cubism and op art, but place the work in a post-internet context.”

Exercises for Lazy Eyes
Adelaide Town Hall Gallery Wednesday, November 8 to Tuesday, January 9
adelaidetownhall.com.au/gallery

Header image: Eyes open for two weeks without blinking, 2016, oil and lithium on canvas, 185.5 cm x 118.5cm

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