Crayon and PVA on canvas
1500 x 1500mm
IAN SCOTT. ; MARCH, 77. ; "LATTICE NO. 5". ; 60" x 60". [stretcher]
Ian Scott was one of the major contributors to the growth of modernism in New Zealand art which occurred in the 1970s. He left the Elam School of Art in 1964, and like most of the other artists who were eventually involved in the movement initially worked as a figurative painter. The increasing availability of American art magazines, the emergence of the Petar/James Gallery in 1971 (intended to be devoted entirely to the showing of abstract art), and contact with the work of Gordon Walters, provided a base from which the artist was able to make his debut into modernism with the Lattice series in 1976.
The influence of American Abstractionists like Frank Stella is clearly evident when looking at these works. In his early career, Stella discarded the need to plan compositions by working solely within a grid format. The resulting paintings were entirely self referential, each one varied by the push and pull of colour. Scott has reworked this idea, using what he calls: “The basic over-and-under pattern.” His use of square shaped canvases are designed to encourage the viewer to focus on what is happening inside the work formally, rather than bringing in any outside associations.
This is also aided by the fact that the works are devoid of personal reference and traces of the artist’s hand (he taped the edges of the bands to give a machine-like effect) and have no spatial recession. The titles also provide no starting point for contemplation, functioning more like serial numbers than naming devices. This painting is characteristic of the early Lattice works with its prominent white bands edged with crayon. Michael Dunn has noted, “By placing colour between and behind the white bands he created an effect that evoked the trellis fencing often found in suburban gardens. This association, while unrelated to the formal nature of his works, is one that the artist is happy with because it reflects the suburban scene in which he works.”