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“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”
This exhibition brings together the work of two Illawarra based artists, Paul Higgs and Kevin Norton. Though at first glance, Norton’s refined mild steel sculptures seem fundamentally dissimilar to Higgs’ brightly syncopated paint constructs, each body of work has developed out of a direct and honest dialogue that exists between the artists. As both agree, one needs to be wholly receptive to a work in the studio. Indeed, it is only when one stops imposing one’s preconceived ideas that the act of making can transcend manufacture and become an experience in and of itself. For Higgs and Norton, this process is intrinsic to and as important as the finished work.
In Norton’s work, this is apparent in the way his sculptures seem to reveal the latent possibilities in space, harnessing something manifest in the environment rather than impressing his will upon it. The sense of stillness and balance in these works is in counterpoint to a vigorous deployment of line, giving the sculptures a feeling of gravity coming in contact with more unpredictable forms of energy. In Higgs’ paint constructs, on the other hand, our sense of figure and ground is disconcerted. By warping fields of pictorial space with overlapping forms and density of pattern, Higgs creates mesmeric fields. The edges of these carefully composed works appear to have been centrifugally compressed, as if they are the epicentre of a limitless and expansive field.
The shared philosophy of these two artists is visible through the feeling of the unanticipated in the work. Whilst each sculpture and paint construct is complete and whole, one grasps that the path to this unity has been one distinct from conventional solutions. Each work has complexity and a sense of discovery that holds one’s attention, slowly revealing the process of what Paul Klee termed ‘making visible’.