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Melbourne Now countdown – day 32

Gareth Sansom
The visit 2013

Gareth Sansom has exhibited his distinctive expressive paintings, drawings and collages since the late 1950s. We caught up with him recently to talk about the group of new paintings that he is contributing to Melbourne Now.

My paintings in Melbourne Now are typical examples of my recent practice. I approach the bare canvas without any preconception or view of what will develop. I begin with random marks with paint – aesthetic doodles almost with line and sometimes shapes which are invariably abstract in appearance. This might be a very fast act of painting, or a slow layering process. Whilst this is developing my antenna is constantly on the alert for clues within those lines and shapes, which might shape the direction or at least the next stage of the painting. Although everything happening is predominately abstract in appearance my real sensibility is searching for a glimpse of something figurative, which might inform the painting and give it a meaningful direction without an overt literalness.

So what we have here with ‘The visit’ is an idea, which came quite late in painting time; an idea to do with another dimension, and a visitor from that dimension. Not so much in a sci fi context, but more if you like a visit from another painting perhaps. There is a sense of a visitor, and a sense of a populated cityscape/landscape below – but I wanted any sense of narrative to remain obscure, to create an environment or atmosphere of otherworldliness. Finally it relies on ‘Trust’…

In the other painting reproduced here, ‘The STAR’, my approach is somewhat different, in that the word ‘THE’ was put down quite early – almost like a barrier or imposition which I would be forever conscious of as the painting developed using a similar methodology as described earlier; except that at some point the quite formal structure of black outlining established a large head or figure – something maybe from  a mechanical age. And since this image dominated proceedings I added a star shape to link with the ‘THE’ thereby creating The STAR!

Image 1

Gareth Sansom

The visit 2013

Oil and enamel paint on canvas

182.9 x 170.2 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Rosley Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Milani Gallery, Brisbane



Image 2

Gareth Sansom

The star 2013

Oil and enamel paint on canvas 182.9 x 170.2 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Rosley Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Milani Gallery, Brisbane