Two Melbourne-based artists, Craig Harrison and Tony Scott, are passionate about the possibilities of geometric abstraction. In a new exhibition, titled ‘Parallel Geometries’ the artists present a selection of recent paintings and works on paper to reveal shared interests and aesthetics. Each artist has more than 40 years of exhibition and studio practice, making this a significant presentation of works by two critically acclaimed painters.
Tony Scott’s interest in abstraction is apparent when we turn to the artist’s Geometrics series of paintings. Golden squares appear throughout. They are derived from the tiny metallic rectangles found on Chinese joss paper. Their casual geometry resonated with Scott’s long-standing interest in geometric abstraction, which, as has been noted by others, makes a link between the Dutch modernist painter Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) and Chinese classic architecture. The notable difference however are the deep Chinese reds and the disorderly articulation of lines, so reminiscent of the backstreets and laneways of the old Beijing suburbs that until recently were a feature of the ancient capital.
In this exhibition Craig Harrison’s works illustrate his interest in colour and form as expressed through the distinctly different pictorial styles of abstraction, both geometric and biomorphic. These stylistic and formal concerns, within which intuition is a driving force, are put to the service of a range of themes. Three main themes predominate: the grid-like patterns formed by city layouts; masks and the unpredictable and potentially contentious interaction between figures in any assembled group; and finally, the landscape – however abstracted – and its power to resonate emotionally with the viewer.