HEYES, Ken

Untitled XVI

1994
Oil shellac, pigment on canvas
1920 x 1830mm

Kendal Heyes is an Auckland born artist who studied during the late 1970s at Auckland University and at Elam before moving to Sydney where he graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts and University of New South Wales (MFA, 1992). He has a long list of exhibitions dating back to 1985 and his work is held in many Australasian collections. In 1987 he was Francis Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago and in 1991 Artist in Residence at Sydney Grammar School. He was one of 12 artists selected for the 1990 Moet et Chandon New Zealand Art Foundation’s exhibition In the Forest of Dream.

The paintings in the series, of which this is number 15, were produced by projecting slides of small images or texts onto canvas. In this sense they are photographic works concerned with reproduction, repetition and enlargement but they use the textures of painted glazes to create a tactile warmth. This painting also incorporates the marginalia of philosophy in that it uses the doodles of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard which, like all doodles, hover between drawing, scribbling, writing and image-making. The message or meaning of the work is deliberately incomplete. The artist’s interest is not in explication but rather in indecipherability.

Three of the series were shown in the 1996 survey exhibition of contemporary New Zealand painting called A Very Peculiar Practice. In a catalogue note curator Allan Smith commented that in selecting all the works he tried to suggest ” that paintings are produced around that point when the energies of the drive to communicate and to make sense are blocked, repressed and then diverted. ” He suggests that in them ” every apparatus of signification is set in motion only to be stalled in mid-flight. “