Three Colours Blue.Tim Melville Gallery
Group Show featuring: Linden Simmons, Elliott Collins, Roberta Thornley, Alberto Garcia-Alvarez, Star Gossage, Peter Gouge and Simon McIntyre. June.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because, you are not.”
– Dialogue from Three Colours: Blue
Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue) is a powerful and at times very confronting film, it is part of a trilogy by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, each part explores the French Revolution ideals – liberty, equality and fraternity. Bleu explores the idea of emotional liberty and has the main character trying desperately to distance herself from a past that won’t go away after the death of her husband and daughter.
There is a scene in the film that will always stand out in my mind, the main character played by Juliette Binoche wanders through a busy street scene to her new apartment – grazing her knuckles purposely on a brick wall along the way, as if to remind and punish herself that she is still alive. She then sets up a blue beaded chandelier – which belonged to her daughter and the light from the window reflects the blue of the chandelier onto her face and grazed knuckles. The scene left me feeling raw; it was easy to get lost in the emotion of the film and experience at some level what the main character was feeling.
Kieslowski’s film is the basis for the latest group show at Tim Melville Gallery, the main stable of artists use the film’s title and premise that human connections are impossible to escape or deny to inspire their work. As I enjoyed the movie so much I wanted to see how each artist would interpret this.
My first reaction after my initial walk around of the show was that I felt the artists were too literal with their interpretation; most of the works seemed to only connect with the film through their use of the colour blue. But as I sat in the space and contemplated the film in relation to the works presented I realised that using the colour blue was apt, the film employed the technique of using colour to symbolise not only loss and sadness which is at the heart of what drives Binoche’s character but also as the colour that ties her to her past – the blue chandelier being a perfect example.
With this in mind I took a second walk around, whereas on my first viewing I felt no connection this time I was drawn to the collection of Linden Simmons, Roberta Thornley and Elliot Collins work on one wall. The curation of the show is perfect in this instance, the three work well together. Simmons’s intricate watercolours titled The Blue Mountains depict a vast landscape, empty of people and life which work nicely with the more heaviness of Roberta Thornley and Elliot Collins’ filmic like stills which include solitary figures. The empty wilderness of Simmon’s paintings work well with the figure based photographs to create a sense of a human connection and personal attachment, no matter how heavy or sad that may be.
Another moment I enjoyed was Johl Dwyer’s paintings that used a palette of blues and whites; I was drawn in by these deceptively simple splashings of colour, becoming lost in the fuzziness of the layers of paint at the edges I found myself wondering what was held in those small gaps at the edge of the canvas? I wanted to know but I knew that I would never have a sufficient answer maybe that was what Dwyer was aiming for, maybe not. Whatever the case, it felt okay to be left wondering and still searching within those layers of paint which shows Dwyer’s strength as an artist.
Elliot Collins’ large scale painting adds a touch of light to the room, the words written in his well-known style say “I will let you win at wrestling, sometimes”, the message is bittersweet and simple and I felt a knowing smile grace my face. There is a playfulness and honesty to Collins’ word works and in this case they connect the viewer to the film well, the small and intimate moments of our relationships are hard to deny.
After my initial apprehension I enjoyed the show, the curation was at it’s best when different works were paired together as I felt that they were able to play off one another and added more depth to the theme of the show than just a colour connection.
The movie is dark and heavy and so are some of the works that are included but there is also hope, there is a sense that no matter how hard we try to rid oneself of personal connections we can never fully let go. It’s a part of the human condition, we crave connections and that is okay.
Photo credit: http://www.timmelville.com