Melbourne artist Paul Boston has produced a new group of pictures of highly refined aesthetic and philosophical concerns. (Upstairs is a sharp lively show by Dale Hickey.)
The pictures are clearly the result of long practice and reflection about illusion and flatness — they draw on cubism, but they also recall something of Braque in their earthy hues and neighbouring tones, as well as the contemplative aspects of Agnes Martin.
At the same time they are not in the least overworked, and feature freehand charcoal lines. The effect is a kind of loose-limbed gravitas. They have a paradoxical sense of feeling both intimate and monumental.
The pictures condense a great deal of art thought and art history, but decline to play art fashion games. They offer an encounter with a distinctive artistic personality one could describe as ‘otherworldly’.
Here is the set-up — the viewer stands before the pictures, which by way of illusory means, ask us the questions: How present are we? What is real?
These are the pleasures of Boston’s pictures: their sheer painterly quality (any painter would love them), the endless fascination of their mysterious imagery — the almost recognisable shapes, the shadows, the mazes & nesting Russian doll structures. And their deep philosophical effect.
Paul Boston has given us a superb show of quiet, magnificent work.
Main image: Paul Boston’s ‘Painting 14’, 2018. The other images are close-up photographs of the same work
At Niagara Galleries till March 2
From the instagram @w.h.chong