Simple Matters: Geometric wall paintings & sculptural interventions
George Meyrick's exhibition at The Exchange, Penzance for Art Monthly issue 335 in May 2011. Gill Hedley is an independent curator, writer and consultant on contemporary visual arts. review of solo exhibition geometric wall paintings & sculptural interventions George Meyrickartist
George Meyrick is based in Cornwall, in Camborne, off the tourist trail. He has exhibited extensively through the UK and Europe, including Kettle’s Yard and the Henry Moore Institute which houses all his early sketchbooks and maquettes in its archive, but this is his first solo exhibition in Cornwall. His current home is not far from the English modernist site of St Ives but Meyrick’s work is not a very close neighbour to the rectangles and circles of Ben Nicholson or the sails of Terry Frost, more directly influenced by Russian constructivism and American minimalism.
The works in Simple Matters give elegant weight to the double meaning of the title; simplicity has always mattered in modernism, minimalism and beyond. The simple materials here – ply, paint, cord – are manipulated by the artist into a lexicon of triangles. The triangles are painted in solid configurations directly on to the walls, drawn in space and along the floor in tensioned cord or drawn on to the walls in cord-thin lines of paint. A scarlet wall-drawing (Reversed Line I) appears again as its spatial twin in a sculpture drawn in cord and air (Reversed Line II). Six works are particular tours de force as they flip in and out of their wall spaces in three dimensions. Balanced Form is a flare of magenta whose painted ply tip just meets the wall where its shadow is painted in two tones, geometry and illusion.
Each work in Simple Matters, all from 2012, is quite independent and has been scaled to be an equal component of a meticulously scored installation specific to the Exchange’s gallery. It has a broad T shape with a narrow entrance leading to larger space and, unusually Meyrick tells us, has four “positive corners”: the first gallery, the trunk of the T, has a protruding corner at each end of its parallel walls.
At the entrance to the exhibition Suspended Corner Drawing is wrapped round to point to both exit and entrance. Black matte and gloss paint alternate and flicker. The flanking point of entry on the other corner is Cut Out, a combination of dark grey triangles that are lifted to hover like vents or flaps. The third positive corner - and the rule of three holds these sentinel works together – is Form From Form, a deeply bitten white chunk taken out of the gallery’s wall then levered up and outwards.
The central work is Two Forms, in which blue cord is pinned over a large area at three points on the floor and three on the ceiling. A small, solid summary of this configuration hangs on a wall nearby and could be comfortably held in the hand while the large sculpture is hard to hold in view and makes it plain that there are many more configurations that could be dreamt of in my geometry, at least. Meyrick asks the viewer to infer or imagine other triangles which he only partly delineates or, like Thinking Space, in which the concave half forces its way deep into the wall. We see a rich egg yolk yellow painted triangle which makes the mark of the yellow pyramid that pushes its way into hidden space.
Colour, line, gouges, folds and solid geometries are paced so that there is a sense of speed and fizz, with isosceles triangles having the velocity of a dart, rocket or wing tip. The energy is a cheerful one reinforced by the evidence of the artist’s own hand throughout. The wood used is birch faced ply painted – lemon, light green, red, magenta, black, bright or duck egg blue – in situ and their surfaces are not anodyne smooth. Meyrick works with material readily to hand, modifies space with a mix of bravado and pragmatism, always scaling the works in response to the architecture into which he is invited to show or create a permanent intervention. These are not sculptures waiting to be made in steel, bronze or a covetable metal, rather taking from the architecture what was blank before and unfolding it to reveal a sculpture.
Meyrick says he looks for “a modesty, a lightness of touch, a delicacy.” He also seeks to have the viewer complete the pairing of site and work of art that becomes a perfect triangle when the third line of imagination is introduced and obeys the rule of odds.