LEFT, Ron;

Equipoise No. 4

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Acrylic on board
1750 x 1200mm

Like Ron Left’s earlier Tondo, Equipoise No. 4 productively exploits a non-rectangular shape. The paint-handling, however, is quite different, closer to that found in Geoff Thornley’s celebrated Constructions of the same period. The work formed part of Left’s 1981 solo exhibition at the Petar/James Gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau. Reviewing the show for Art New Zealand, Leonard Bell commented:

‘All the paintings were ‘partitioned’ into four or five areas, radically different from one another in dominant colour, size and shape—in the Equipoise works, a small triangle, a slim oblong, and a large diamond biting into what would have been a square. The colours were strong and intense, without being bright or glossy—red, light blue, violet, yellow, olive-green, and purple, for instance. Yet these bold and diverse elements were held together in a fine, asymmetrical equilibrium, tense, but with no one feature dominating, or ‘taking over’ at the expense of others.’

‘Left’s paintings need to be scrutinised closely, since they are characterised by intricate and subtle play of colour and texture. … The prevailing textural effect is of a thickish ‘skin’ peppered with tiny, pinhead sized craters, only visible close up—the result of applying the paint with a flat metal trowel in one motion across the surface. This method effects a paint surface which ‘projects’, and eschews any ‘atmospherics’ and the conventional marks of handpainting, such as brushstrokes, which could interrupt the sense of ‘unity’ of colour, surface and shape.’[1]


[1] Leonard Bell, ‘Exhibitions: Auckland’, Art New Zealand 22 (Summer 1981–82).

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RON LEFT/ AUCKLAND / 'EQUIPOISE' NO. 4 / ACRYLIC / 1750mm x 1200mm / Ron Left [verso]

Exhibition History

The 80s Show: Paintings from the Fletcher Trust Collection, Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, 1 July to 27 August 2017 (toured)

Ron Left, Petar/James Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, 1981