Wednesday, October 23, 1991

THE GRAMMAR OF ORNAMENT - First Draft WEST, 39 Parramatta Rd Annandale - 23rd October to 10th November 1991

This was my first real major solo exhibition.  It was in the downstairs space at First Draft WEST.  It consisted of two long rows of paintings that were made to fit exactly onto the length of each wall space.  The paintings were all 25cm tall but of varying lengths.  They were hung next to each other without any spaces, so that they made two very long paintings. 
The layered imagery was taken from a book called 'The Grammar of Ornament' by Owen Jones that was originally published in 1856; which was an attempt to catalogue "the innumerable and ever-varying phases of Ornamental Art".  One of Jones's aims was to "arrest... that unfortunate tendency of our time to be content with copying...", so of course I set about not only copying his copies, but layering them so that as many of them as possible could be used. (You have to remember that Post-modernism was all the rage, it was your duty to present as much out-of-context information as possible...). The smaller back wall of the gallery space had one single square painting (50cm x 50cm?) that was made up of all the patterns and colours that had been used throughout the other works.
I remember that it was quite a complicated logistical problem to construct all of the canvases to fit within the wall space, as I had to take into account the bricked-up fire place and electrical meter box - I did have to quickly make one last painting to make it all fit.
Below are some images of separate pieces - I still have plenty of these paintings left - there were so many!  There was also a video made of the exhibition - I have had it transferred to dvd - it's a little blurry, but it is 20 years old!  I have also included a picture of the invite and room sheet which were painstakingly (and a little crookedly...) typed, pasted together and photocopied - thank god the computer got invented...