Scott Gardiner, The Fringes, 3-25 November 2017

3–25 NOVEMBER 2017

Scott Gardiner’s passion for the ocean is immediately obvious in his paintings. Surfing is an intense physical interaction with the ocean’s surface. Modernist painting is an intense mental interaction with the surface of a canvas. Gardiner’s paintings spring from an intersection of the two; a distillation of the ephemeral qualities of light and motion on water rendered in pigment where the ocean is obviously a very powerful creative space for him. They are crystal-clear vessels of alchemical metamorphosis and transcendence. They change as you look at them. You can taste the salt in their sunlight.

The frisson in Gardiner’s paintings comes from this tidal push-pull counterpoint of mimetic naturalism and the purely schematic, and of course the eternal amniotic attraction of mother ocean’s interior altitudes. The oceans bruise seventy percent of the Earth’s surface and are the origin of all the life we know. Of course the ocean is not all fascinating surface, life-giving and joyful, transcendent beauty; the Yang always has its yin.

 This new work reflects that closeness to the great unknown, the struggle for life. It manifests in a far greater depth in the work, highlighting the already present references to human mortality in the counterpoints of light and dark, gloss and matt, naturalistic and abstract. . Each painting is an abstract philosophical exercise as well as an extremely beautiful and engaging aesthetic object. Each a self-contained idea, and also a process, a continuum of thought and experience.

Dr Andrew Paul Wood is an art and cultural historian, writer, educator, broadcaster, and translator based in Christchurch, New Zealand.