95 Terrys Avenue
Belgrave, Vic 3160,
Phone / Fax (03) 9754 2773
Dr. Manfred Krautschneider
Phone mobile 0402 250 274
“Mechism” - illusionist abstraction as metaphor.
Now on his fourth significant exhibition, Ian Rogers work can be seen to have defined a unique new style of art. The solidity of the concept, the multiple levels of appreciation allowed for in its execution, and the fine painting may explain the enormous interest generated by his shows. Put simply, “Mechism”, also the title of the first of these shows, is a mechanical metaphor for a variety of personal issues and societal foibles. That this can be achieved in illusionist painting bordering on abstraction, was Ian’s remarkable discovery. That the idea is fertile is demonstrated by the remarkable development of his work over the last four years.
In the first of these shows, “Mechism” (MIRA Fine Art, 2002), a heightened key and central composition propels one directly from the industrial or mechanical subject such as the heat exchange and valve in “Ascent” (opposite), to the significance of his mechanical metaphors. The various works, confront, titillate and seduce us. We feel like voyeurs in a Freudian dismemberment of a mechanical vessel, representing both the body and inner workings of man. Whether through a blood rust armor, or over a turquoise plate the cavities and protuberances reveal layers of artifice and control, and a tampering with nature, a shallow social psychology. The inherent satirical content emerges as an aftertaste.
“Ascent” 2002, Acrylic on board
In “Substratum” (Chapman and Bailey, 2003) Ian’s acrylic on canvas paintings are scaled up, visceral vessel surfaces in slightly degraded primary hues predominate, and the compositions become more abstract, a development that is to be pushed further in each subsequent show. This time, a cut away, allowing us to see part of the inner layers provides the metaphor. The interiors are dark and mysterious. The subconscious is seen as problematic, and the outer surfaces show signs of the stress of containment.
“Insight” (TILT, 2004), raises the level of abstraction further, resulting in bold, challenging and beautiful, almost incandescent works that only slowly give up their meanings. The subject is man’s social, political and technological matrix, which is threatening to come unstuck. The significance of the Illusionist style in abstraction now becomes apparent. It allows symbolism (rusty or missing screws in the painted surfaces), and metaphor (guages or instrument which allows us to infer inner states, protuberances as bodily functions etc), to contribute a surface drama to the abstraction. Illusionary depth in an abstract work reminds us of our subconscious and perceptual drive to interpret, and our inability to firmly grasp meaning.
In Ian Rogers’ new exhibition, “innuendo” (Lynne Wilton, 2006), the industrial vessel is finessed to an ambiguous surface of more subdued tertiary colors. The content has devolved to a sign, a mark, a controlled line, but each with the illusion of a wire or tube terminating inside the surface, alluding to a submerged visceral reality, plumbing what? The forms invite ambiguous possible readings. The subject may well be the illusion itself. The metaphor remains. If painting is about surface, then what lies beyond? Does sculpture have a monopoly on depth? Seen as sculpture, there would be no hesitation in calling the works abstract. Ian has shown that abstract painting can incorporate illusionism and psychological dialogue.
From Mechism, Substratum, Insight, to Innuendo Ian Rogers progressively abstracts his metaphorical “mechism”, leading painting to a marked change, from pure abstraction to “mechism”, an illusionist metaphorical abstraction.
By Manfred Krautschneider, Feb 2006
Ian Rogers and "mechism" - a manifesto
"The process of humanizing machinery." Have you ever cursed your computer? Ever sworn at your car when it breaks down? Why do we often describe a mechanical component by using human associations?
Can you explain why both man and machine wear and burn out? Why then are they described as being able to breathe, bleed, weep, respire, expire, etc? Why do we describe machines as possessing heads, bodies, teeth, arms, circulatory systems? Why do we associate the mechanical connections of specific parts by either male or female?
Machinery is the ubiquitous companion of man. So integrated is our interaction that it could be said we have taken this union for granted. Society depends on machines and tools at every level of daily life.
The machine could be described as a developing social mirror evolving over decades and centuries. Machines constantly reflect mankind's environments, politics, social trends and philosophies. Mechism, is about paying tribute to this ongoing and integrated relationship.
I have created the word "MECHISM" to pay homage to the world as I perceive it and I submit it to you as my personal manifesto, a declaration as an artist, wether as an individual or in collaboration, that I will endeavour to express my philosophical, humorous and social views of the world through the unique metaphor of the machine.
2006 innuendo, Lynne Wilton Gallery
Insight, TILT Contemporary Art
2003 Substratum. Chapman & Bailey Gallery
2002 Mechism. Mira Fine Art Gallery
2001 Recent Works. Windows Gallery
Group Exhibitions - Selected.
2004 Wynham Contemporary Art Prize Wynham Civic Center
2003 Banyule Art Prize Ivanhoe Civic Center
2003 Darebin-La Trobe Acquisitive Art Prize Bundoora Homestead
2002 Wynham Contemporary Art Prize Wynham Civic Center
2002 Contemporary Artists Mira Fine Art Gallery
2002 Postcard Exhibition Linden Gallery
2001 Melbourne Grammar Exhibition. Motor Works Gallery
2001 Wynham Contemporary Art Prize Wynham Civic Center
2001 Postcard Exhibition Linden Gallery
1999 A.M.E. Bale Travel Scholarship Glen Eira Town Hall
TILT Contemporary Art
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Melbourne, Victoria, 3160, Australia
Phone (03) 9752 5599
Copyright 2003-6, Dr. Manfred Krautschneider - TILT