Yonder, Adam Turnbull’s first solo show in New York, opens at Lazy Susan Gallery on November 3 (6–8pm) and will run through November 8. Lazy Susan Gallery is located at 191 Henry Street in New York’s Lower East Side.
With this exhibition, Adam mines his experience growing up in suburban Australia to address questions of identity and origin by deconstructing traditional Australian Impressionism. The series of paintings, drawing and sculpture seeks a balance between growth and stagnation, movement and flatness, delineating each generation's experience of and reckoning with what defines it.
The four paintings on display use a color palette that references works done by Australia’s Heidelberg School. These turn-of-the-century impressionist painters—Arthur Streeton, Walter Withers, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin, among others—were some of the first artists trained in Australia rather than Europe, many were first-generation Australians. Painted in plein air, the works produced by Streeton and his contemporaries were seminal in depicting the true color and scale of the country’s landscape. These four oil on linen works abstract the landscape depicted in several paintings from the era. The succinct, patterned gesture creates an energetic rhythm representative of the output and uniformity produced by the Heidelberg painters.
A sculptural installation titled Godfreys, as well as works on paper, address shifting identity politics in contemporary Australia. In Godfreys, a beach ball hovers suspended above a vacuum, a popular piece of visual merchandising for suburban Australian appliance stores in the 90s. An embodiment of domesticity and the previous generation’s dream of the nuclear family, the noise caused by the constant expulsion of air from the vacuum radiates around the room, offering a physical counterpart to the frenetic emotional movement inherent in the paintings and drawings.
Two works on paper adhere to the same motif of movement and flatness, employing shifting monochromatic surfaces. A sense of depth emerges through the different tones, representative of a generation’s desire to move outside of the traditional domestic value system of the country. Patterns emerge within the paintings and drawings, specifically in the hurried gesture that at once connects and layers color. These repeated marks imply a hurriedness toward established identity, while the layering introduces the idea of potential revision and possible fatigue with the task at hand.
The works in this exhibition approach identity as something abstract and transient, something constantly in flux. It is work that feels close, yet at a distance... over there... out yonder.