Two exhibitions capture colourful and mesmerising palettes

Full Spectrum. Peter McLean. It was a golden day. Jane Horton. Form Studio and Gallery 1/30 Aurora Ave, Queanbeyan. Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. Until March 17.

Peter McLean's <i>Passage of Spheres</i> (detail). Engraving. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Peter McLean's Passage of Spheres (detail). Engraving. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Peter McLean’s Full Spectrum consists of engravings, screen prints and artist books that, according to the exhibition blurb, “explore the basis of colour perception in a way that is magical and mesmerising”. The overall installation consisting of 179 individual works almost covers the total expanse of the gallery walls.

The Full Spectrum (Cat. 5) of the title comprises 144 relief engravings, each 31.5 x 23.5 cm, and divided into two equal panels of 72 works. Its position on the entirety of the back wall gives it visual dominance. The overall Gestalt is initially quite overwhelming. It is intense and obsessive but nevertheless visually and intellectually interesting.

McLean explores the possibilities for colour change that exist within the spectrum. The results throughout the work are extremely subtle bordering on the imperceptible. However the changes are present and each of the 144 components is given a particular identity and autonomy while it simultaneously contributes to the work’s overall impact.

Peter McLean's <i>Structure of Reality</i> screenprint. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Peter McLean's Structure of Reality screenprint. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Multiple imagery is also seen in Structure of Reality (Cat.6). Here the reduction of individual elements to 49 allows the viewer to relate more immediately than one does in Full Spectrum. The restriction of the palette to three colours has not limited the range of variations the artist offers. Like Full Spectrum this work is as much an intellectual and perceptual one as it is aesthetic.

Rainbow Moiré Moon I to IV (Cat’s 1 – 4) are individual works that explore the same concerns seen throughout the exhibition. Visually these provide interest and the clearly legible insertion of indications of the artist’s guiding hand add a further aesthetic element to this group.

While the printer’s craft is certainly present in all the work it is (often) not easy to discern in the sheer multiplicity of like forms. The artist books (Cat’s 7 – 11) provide explanations of their contents in an especially lyrical use of language.

That of Motion of Spheres exemplifies this: “Being the 25 permutations in the relations of a single image printed in three colours rotated through five angles”. The artist books are worth looking through and assist in gaining a fuller understanding of this almost scientific journey imagined through the guiding hand and eye of the artist/craftsman.

Jane Horton's <i>High Beam</i>.
27x37cm. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Jane Horton's High Beam. 27x37cm. 2018 Photo: Supplied

Jane Horton’s It was a golden day has 10 woodcut prints. There is an overriding feeling that the artist’s absorption in the making of each of the prints has resulted in a number of them being overworked.

There is visually just too much happening and judicious internal editing would have resulted in a more resolved exhibition. That said there are a number of lovely works.

Blanket (Cat. 10) captures the interwoven threads that comprise a blanket in a quietly attractive way. The simple formal vocabulary (lines, squares) and an appropriately modulated palette separate this work from the frenetic activity of many of the others.

Ode to Tanaka (Cat. 2) and Zebra (Cat. 3) also benefit from the use of a similar pared back pictorial and formal schema.