ED BATS: DON'T MIND IF I DON'T

11 November - 4 December 2021

Don't mind if I don't sees Ed Bats further pushing at the boundaries of scale, composition and gesture. While Bats is influenced by artists including Sven Lukin, Richard Diebenkorn, and Blair Thurman, the artist has increasingly turned their attention closer to home and these works are peppered with nods to artists such as Don Driver, Toss Woollaston and Ralph Hotere.

Ed Bats adopted a pseudonym as a graffiti artist, covertly painting murals on streets around Aotearoa and across Europe. Consequently, Bats’ works are imbued with a certain architectural quality that is evident in both their physicality and construction. The artist’s careful and constant working and re-working is laid bare in every stroke of paint, each exacting line or gesture. Often entire paintings are virtually obliterated, their surface painted over leaving only glimpses of the anterior colour and form beneath; similar to a graffiti wall that has been repeatedly whitewashed. Some works present a meticulous layering of vertical forms that have the appearance of architectural planes or structures stacked one behind another, others are physically constructed from multiple canvasses, while larger works see great swathes of flat vivid colour immersing the viewer and lending them a heightened optical quality.

Many works are more akin to objects than paintings. In addition to constructed canvasses, the artist revels in the process of making and constructing and often incorporates second-hand furniture and household items to create assemblages that oscillate between painting, sculpture, and installation.