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Imogen Rogers at Barefoot

:: Front page : Arts News : Magnetic Island Times

July 10th 2013

It’s good to see a bit of unashamedly abstract painting for a change amid the oft-witnessed pleasing landscapes, seascapes and generally literal renderings found so regularly in North Queensland art exhibitions.

Magnetic Island-based artist, Imogen Rogers, exhibition, To the Is-land of 36 paintings is currently at the Barefoot Gallery in Horseshoe Bay. To the Is-land reflects an interior world of predominantly female symbolism with more than a little Earth Mother worship detectable. And while these themes are clearly significant to the artist the works get more interesting for this reviewer when the fem-familiar prop is put aside and a little discovery of what colour, shape, line and form can achieve without having to depict any particular thing. One work, Mountain, confidently plays off the confined structures of topography with a candy-coloured sky that wants to lift itself out of the picture and suggests many further adventures in paint and pattern. Another piece, Janet Frame a loose and wild vermillion arrangement that smears close to the freedom and decisiveness found in the best of young children’s art. With the suggestions of a face amid chaotic finger painting the play-off between straight lines and looped face shape suddenly gets serious and tormented with gashes of yellow teeth lines. Its brilliant red-headed namesake would no doubt have been intrigued.

Another piece, Adams Apple again plays off forces of containment and release and while the eye has much to do travelling through this truncated arrangement there is no retreat by the artist into patterned decoration and the work is the stronger for it. While Rogers has attempted larger works such as Purple the colour is confidently and cleanly applied but over forms which are less convincing and resolved within the canvas. As is so often the case, it is the smaller, less-stressed over works which hold the most possibilities. For this reviewer’s two bob’s worth, Imogen Rogers has excitement to share in her smaller visual spaces when free of the universal symbols and the cultural baggage they inevitably evoke. To the Is-land is well worth a visit for a change from the usual suspect subject matter and the chance to see some engaging painting that isn’t trying to be a picture of something. George Hirst

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