Martin Poppelwell/ 'Unravelled' Group show Wellington City Art Gallery

n 1968, American sculptor Robert Morris coined the term ‘anti-form’ to distinguish a new kind of sculpture that had emerged in reaction to minimalism. Where it stressed composition and organisation, the new art preferred decomposition and disorganisation. In place of strict geometries, Morris, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Lynda Bengalis, and Barry Le Va draped, poured, and scattered material. Their work emphasised material, mutability, process. Unravelled brings together five artists who connect with this tradition, embracing disorder and irregularity.

The regular grid is a modernist staple. However, Melbourne’s Kerrie Poliness and Napier's Martin Poppelwell make grids irregular. For her wall drawings, Poliness estimates key points by eye, so her grids expand and contract as if unevenly stretched across the architecture. While her grids are drawn with sharp ruled lines, Poppelwell’s grids are hand painted. His  grids suggest abraded, frayed, threadbare textiles, albeit rendered in crisp graphic contrast.

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November 30, 2019