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Six Degrees of Separation
- Leigh Davis, April 2001

(Text for Andrew Jensen for SIX DEGREES catalogue)

They have a certain nudity to them, these vibrant instruments. They only gleam at first, and don't reveal much thickness of visual event. It depends on what you are used to looking at mostly. They're in your face but they don't say much. They don't say much but they want you to pay close attention. Pretty solicitous, and pretty mute. This induced re-calibration of what you are looking for is the main way these paintings work. The looking goes on for a while.

How do thin things, flat paintings on the wall for the most part, become thick? They present paradox for the viewer. Broadly : they are both composed and they ricochet. They are tame and wild. Pictures, and objects. Frame-bound, and yet they operate in or organise the room. That is, by various means, the works increase their appearance.

The Umberg's leap at you and give you a double-take. They make the colour black radiate a lot of light.

One Knoebel sets up the colour red to topple its adjacent white panels and twist your eye. The painting seems composed for a while though. The painter's four small painted boxes (DIN IV) stand proportionally a long way out from the wall and set up a cloud of angles around each.

The dark blocks in Bambury's "Letter to Paul" look to sheer a little, out of the picture. The Innes' paintings are oddly transparent and oddly opaque. And the Federle, a set-square itself, rhymes the right-angles in the gallery.

Some works stand proud of the wall, and one, Karin Sanders' - well, I don't know, recedes? It's bouncy ; quite ambiguous with respect to the plane it sits in, engaging the wall, like the Shroud of Turin, without the face.

These sensuous surfaces evolve over time, as in a movie, but much, much more slowly. At a speed of ten percent of a frame per second they go from sleek to gliding. It is painting behaving on the edge of sculpture in the rooms. That is, by small means and materials, (colour, proportion, lines of sight) big means (space and light conditions, for instance) get excited.

So far, so conventional. But the art of small things becoming big, of more over less, is absolutely intriguing. The only person who writes well about this ratio is Donald Judd and even he gets muddled. How do various tight things end up loose? Simultaneously a restricted object and an unrestricted sign? Art hastens towards catastrophe. It must find a way to get out of the art object. Good art is a big switch.