Christopher Inwood is Inward – Painting to Think

Chris Inwood de-installed his exhibition “Vouyer” from the Level 1 space at Jugglers today after two weeks and no art sales. He has secured a show at the BCC Square gallery in the city in 2017 after some serious lobbying and foot work and in a climate of closing spaces and an expanding artist cohort in Brisbane this is a significant success. His work as a new and emerging artist was expensive for Brisbane but it sometimes happens that good work – his work is good – and conceptual exhibitions like his fail to connect with collectors. Chris is a philosopher with a serious focus on understanding and meaning. It is a good thing that he has begun Art History at UQ as even though his self taught arts practice has reached a level of aesthetic impact with viewers, he has an obvious passion for making sense of his world and the world in general using his art as a spring board. This is not to say that he isn’t passionate about his arts practice as it seems that he is, but his ability to frame his work as scaffold for conversation and dialogue move him on from artists who only seem interested in their practice. As a collector and Director at Jugglers I am fine with that focus and the hundreds of artists and art works I have seen here attest to my passion for the aesthetic. However, to find someone so young who has a well developed grasp on at least the process of inquiry into a range of visual impacts is refreshing. Chris’s artist talk on the Saturday afternoon was a lively and helpful group discussion that he led with a mature group approach rather than a lecture.

His installation including 2 data projectors suspended from the ceiling included the scrolling of thousands of text messages between him and his girl friend Kate – who was the subject of the main body of painted work – and a series of GIFS he had collated into a looped stream. The theme of his work was around vouyerism as a habit that we have now all been drawn into where a “like” and a short sharp GIF means that our minds are being fast tracked away from a more reflective approach to art and life, a kind of shallow acceptance or rejection of commodified visuals. Chris’s skill as a painter and as one able to bring art movements onto canvas where some of his painting triptychs were intentionally art movement influenced, focused our eyes and inner responses into more than the well resolved works that he had painted. We were forced to assess what this was really about and why one photorealistic painting might not have been enough. As a young person influenced by the market driven world but with obvious understanding of its limits and of the benefits of a fairer and perhaps socialist world, he still had marketed himself with cards, printed books and TShirts which he did make some money from. We have been treated to a well thought out exhibition that had firm foundations and where Chris should move towards a successful career in bringing some impact on the deepening of our culture and our understanding of what it’s all about.

Peter Breen 2016