Body/Time/Light by Alexander Boynes. Beaver Galleries. Until July 3.
Reviewer: Sasha Grishin.
Warning – for those intending to visit this exhibition, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses – the glare from the pulsating "neon fluoro" colours can be a bit painful to the naked eye.
Alex Boynes is a local Canberra product. He graduated from the ANU School of Art in 2004 with Honours in Gold and Silversmithing; he manages the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, as administrator and curator, and he is now holding his fifth solo exhibition and his first at Beaver Galleries. Much of his work is collaborative and finds expression in new technologies, such as the complex video installation Lumen that was exhibited at the Australian National Capital Artists Gallery in 2014.
In this exhibition, he collaborates with the Indigenous communities in the Djelk Indigenous Protected Area in Arnhem Land, as part of his Arnhembrand project, and, as part of the PRAXIS project, with two Perth-based artists, his sister, Laura Boynes, who is a dancer and choreographer, and Tristen Parr, an acoustic and electric cellist and composer.
The common ingredient throughout this exhibition is the preoccupation with dynamic movement, a form of frozen dance suspended in time and light, where the body is a carrier of both narrative and emotional content. If one leaves aside the titles, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate the two series of work. All of the images are resolved as a type of manipulated transfer print, where the bodies in motion are captured as somewhat jagged energy fields in fluorescent enamel paint with auras left around them suggesting a pulsating neon sign. These composite paintings on acrylic, backed with sheets of aluminium, are presented unframed and suspended off the wall. In this show, lighting is everything and the panels glow and radiate light depending on the surrounding light sources.
The different size panels are quite effective, but stronger on a larger scale, as in Stray light, Everywhen and Reduced to a code, whereas the miniature panels develop a sense of decorativeness and ornamentation. They could be even more effective on a larger scale, close to human proportions, so that the space inside the panel would invite the viewer to step inside it and engage with the rhythms of dance.
What Boynes has achieved is a visual language, one that is very contemporary in its look and that he is starting to own. He also demonstrates the ability to manipulate the technique for his own purposes, rather than being imprisoned by it. Possibly the strongest piece is Stray light, where chance has been allowed into the process and an image has emerged that appears for a moment to be beyond the conscious control of the artist.
Boynes is a young man in a hurry, whose art is bold, energetic and open to risk taking.