- Head Space
- Oil on canvas
- 30 x 30cm
Chris Pole graduated from the University of Canterbury Ilam School of Fine Arts in 2002, where he completed a Master of Fine Arts Degree with Distinction. Pole is a Christchurch-based artist, having returned to New Zealand in early 2009 after two years living and working in the UK, and travelling through Europe, North Africa, the United States, and the Middle East.
[read more] Pole's recent work consists of a series of detailed oil paintings and drawings. He has been selected for inclusion in two upcoming group surveys; Rolling Maul: New Art from Here at Christchurch Art Gallery (1), curated by Justin Paton, and Contemporary New Zealand Painting at Blue Oyster Art Project Space, curated by Jamie Hanton.
Pole recently staged a solo exhibition The future is not what it used to be at Chambers@241, in Christchurch during 2011 (2), and was a finalist in the 2011 20th Annual Wallace Art Awards, and part of the touring exhibition which was staged at the Pah Homestead in Auckland and Dowse Art Gallery in Wellington. His recent work has been described as “... visually arresting but essentially enigmatic … acknowledg(ing) the history of the artist’s chosen medium while participating in very contemporary conversations. Chris Pole’s The Age of Wires reads like a frame snipped from an Italian neo-realist film. His uneasy geometry of the street suggests a moment caught in time, a fragmentary narrative which engages the viewer immediately. Pole’s ability to conjure up emotionally-charged architectural space is quite extraordinary.” (3)
All of the paintings feature a somewhat flattened surface, a kind of ‘all-over’ effect that doesn’t favour depth of field. The foreground is treated the same as the distance, a quality also inherent in the drawings, which are made using one grade of pencil and little variation in mark-making. The slightly naïve quality of the works keeps them from being too realistic as depictions of place, but rather an imagined – and altered - reality.
The overlaid texts include literary references, allusions to song, and evocations of ‘ghosts’, ‘disappearances’ and ‘absences’, which add further layers of meaning to the work.
The paintings are underpinned by other ideas and offer various interpretations, with visual references to painters as diverse as Peter Doig, Edward Hopper, Mariotto Albertinelli, Ed Ruscha and Rita Angus.