John Coley: Collages 2013 on now at Depot Artspace


An exhibition of John Coley’s brightly coloured new works is now on display at Depot Artspace in the Main Gallery. As part of Auckland Artweek John Coley: Collages 2013 will run until October 23.

Two of John’s visual diaries are also being exhibited alongside a new series of collages. Everything is beautifully executed both on the wall and in the journals. There is a real sense of dynamism throughout the work pleasurable to the eye, perhaps created by Johns careful consideration of colour and shape in each composition. Gallery visitors have commented that the figures in these works look as if they were ‘floating’. 

From the press release:

When the onset of macular degeneration impaired John Coley’s eyesight, he found that his long developed techniques of observational drawing, watercolour and oil painting became compromised. He could no longer see distant subjects with clarity. There were distortions, flashes of light, glare and judging mixing colours became imprecise as did manipulating drawing implements and brushes. Added to the eyesight difficulties was the move into apartment living without a studio space.

After a period of being unable to continue his normal practice, the medium of collage seemed to suit his new circumstances. Collage enables John to choose colours, cut forms, use found items, and arrange elements into compositions that are personal and satisfying. He manipulates his cut or torn shapes with control, then organises them into larger forms. The works can also be made within the confines of a small apartment study.

The figure in motion is often present in John’s work, symbolic of life, vigour and relationships that he is always delighted to observe in daily life. The figurative works are often associated with specific places or activities. The compositional problems offered by formal abstraction make every abstract or non-objective work a challenge that is continuously fascinating and extremely satisfying. Colour is also important in John’s work which is often undeniably, unapologetically decorative in character.

“I would like to express my grateful thanks to Linda Blincko, director of the Depot Artspace, and curator Robyn Gibson for their invitation to exhibit, encouragement and assistance. Also I need to express my gratitude to Dr. David Squirrel and the nurses at the Greenlane Eye Clinic without whose extraordinary expertise and care I would not have been able to create and present this exhibition.”