DASHPER, Julian

Untitled (Yellow Stripes)

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1994
Acrylic on canvas
2010 x 1430mm

Dashper’s stripe paintings must be viewed in the context of other well known stripe paintings by modernist masters such as Daniel Buren. In the past, art criticism in New Zealand has always made much of our geographical isolation from the centre of the world’s artistic activity. In his artist’s notes of 1990 Dashper wrote: “It is an irony of our time that New Zealand’s Pacific distance is an advantage to us. That very distance whose obstacle shaped our past will continue to affect us by placing us in a fresh context. Distance is no longer an excuse, but has instead become an introduction.”

Dashper’s stripes have the same relationship to those of Buren et al. as his early 80s gestural works had to Abstract Expressionism. The stripes are reproductions of a generic type of painting, almost a mock-up. As Frances Pound observed, “[Dashper] makes paintings which come into being only at their reproductions’ behest … Reproduction comes first, art second … The painting exists only in as much as it anticipates the slides to come … There is with Dashper’s commercially sprayed canvases no exquisiteness of stroke to be lost. Nor subtlety of surface. No mark of the master’s hand.”

In fact Dashper’s stripe paintings were made in order to be photographed and sent about the world as slides, much as the work of the significant modern artists were first seen here as slides in art history lectures. Dashper’s slides are “little warriors sent out to infiltrate the world’s art market.”