26 November - 25 January
Preview Wednesday 26 Nov 6-8pm
Michael Lett is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Shane Cotton. In Blank Geometry Cotton offers a suite of new works on paper, many of which deploy his signature forms of the past few years: ambiguous
texts; birds being stretched and warped through space; coloured dots and lines that simultaneously censor his images and
create spatial depth; and, most contentiously, mokomokai—preserved Maori heads that were traded in the nineteenth
century. One by one, the paintings transform into proto-Surrealist spaces of invocation, in which seemingly unrelated
forms from past and present are thrown together against stormy skies. But these works also present significant
developments within Cotton’s practice. At the centre of several paintings there is the introduction of a diamond;
inside, the artist creates abstract forms that hark back to British painter Ben Nicholson. He also finds new depths with
his ‘smoke’ paintings, whose ambivalent surfaces are punctuated by a wobbling and unpredictable three-dimensionality.
Cotton opens up the spaces of paintings to find what lies behind them. Yet the resulting breakthroughs are less about
staging Surrealist disorientations than they are about discovering unseen dimensions. Thus, they refer as much to
quantum physics as to traditional Maori cosmology. Cotton’s works create a unique vision: a collision of colonial
traumas, histories of modernism, contemporary reflections on ideas of ‘place’ and the nature of our existence.
Please note that the gallery will close for the Christmas break on Friday 19 December, and will re-open onTuesday 13