‘Veteran artist John Blackburn, who oscillates between England and New Zealand, was unable to attend the opening of his show at Artis Gallery in Parnell. So it is called In Absentia. Nevertheless the show conveys a lively spontaneous presence. The paintings all seize on an idea or an object and with a flourish Blackburn makes an artwork of it.
A big painting, The Chinaman’s Dream, shows a slab and two headstone shapes and is a monument to some rubber gloves made in China. The gloves are incorporated in the painting to give texture to one of the forms that reflect the fingers and the slab of text is taken from the instructions translated into English. The wording that came with the glove is enigmatic and strange so the piece makes mystery from the commonplace.
There is a group, Muriwai I, II, III, which have a rhythmic dance of circular forms of colours and textures found at that beach. They are especially evocative’