Exhibition at QAGOMA 25 May 2019 – 2 Feb 2020

Geometries

Geometries’ brings together works that dazzle the eyes with colour and form. Using deceptively simple strategies — structuring relationships between the most elementary components of shape, scale and relative sequencing, for the most part described in pure, flat and vibrant colours — the artists behind these arrangements excel in creating mesmerising optical effects. Contemporary in their lively spirit, and sometimes surprisingly classical in their sense of order and proportion, these works are certain to stir the senses.

Lesley Dumbrell, Australia b.1941 / Stridor 1972 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas / 167.7 x 246.7cm / Gift of the Queensland Art Gallery Society 1974 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Lesley Dumbrell

Lesley Dumbrell, a recognised pioneer of the Australian women’s art movement of the 1970s and a leading exponent of abstraction in Australia, also refers to sound in her work Stridor 1972: ‘stridor’ meaning a harsh, grating noise or the wheezing of an obstructed windpipe. Here, Dumbrell works with a muted palette — unusual given the predilection for bright tones and high contrast employed by many Op painters — and this creates a strange shifting (perhaps rattling) push-pull effect with her subtly angled crossing verticals, which seem to perpetually cross from the foreground to the background. Although Dumbrell is better known for her jazzy system paintings of the late 1970s, as well as the more playful linear and shape paintings of the 1980s that share an aesthetic with the ubiquitous Memphis design group, Stridor is an accomplished early work.

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