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Non-verbal communication

Saskia Leek is concerned with the qualities and processes of painting.

The Christchurch-born artist is known for her ‘playful questioning’ of what constitutes ‘good’ painting. This is something she has continued to research throughout her career, often blending or moving between elements of representational and abstract art.

Saskia Leek, Early Telepaths, installation view

In Early Telepaths, at Dunedin Public Art Gallery (DPAG) earlier this year, a suite of new paintings explored colour, composition, saturation, brushstroke, subject-matter, light, and framing devices. Variations of repeated forms – trees, grapes, bananas and circles – seemed to test what it means to make a painting. The title of the exhibition, implying an  exchange of unspoken information, invited the viewer to stop and engage with the painting.

Leek completed her MFA at Elam School of Fine Art in 2016, but has been creating and exhibiting for many years. In 2013 DPAG showed a 20-year retrospective of her work. Of this recent exhibition, the Gallery says, ‘It is through a range of different approaches, that have shifted and evolved throughout her career, that Leek offers a nuanced view into the history of painting and its agency in the current moment.’

Image credits:

  • Saskia Leek, Early Telepaths 1, 2018, Oil on aluminium board.
  • Saskia Leek, Early Telepaths 2, 2019, Oil on aluminium board.
  • Saskia Leek, Early Telepaths 3, 2019, Oil on aluminium board.

Images courtesy of the artist, Jonathan Smart Gallery and Ivan Anthony.

First published in Art Zone issue #79
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