555 Hamilton St
Leach, Singer and Stanbridge are among a young generation of artists whose artwork directly or indirectly alludes to historical forms of abstraction — in this case modernist painting from the 1960s. Although the art from that period stressed the formal properties of colour and support, and avoided all references to representation or narrative, the artists in Visual Stimulants in large part question the autonomy of abstract painting and return it to the realm of the everyday.
Angela Leach's vibrant and visually demanding paintings appear aligned with the dizzying effects of Op Art, but the intricate interlocking patterns and colour range also reflect her day job as a weaver on a handloom producing fabric. Ken Singer produces work that initially reads as an aesthetic meditation on the modulation of colour, but the densely covered surface pattern is revealed as lines of repeated words that insert narrative content where it is not expected. Jeremy Stanbridge makes visually complex paintings that offer a play between positive and negative space, and which prompt associations as varied as landscape, microscopic cells, camouflage, animation, and wallpaper.
Defying the mass produced and manufactured quality of much contemporary art, and the quick assimilation of information in contemporary mass media, these works are all the product of a labour intensive hand-crafted process. This investment of time is an important component in both the making of the work and in its reception by the viewer, who is encouraged to slow down their apprehension of the work. By allowing the visual to be a pleasurable and complex encounter, and by making the work something it is not, Leach, Singer and Stanbridge create an experience of both contemplation and perplexity.