Moray Gallery

Amy Hoedemakers: Almost Tangible

5-26 November 2021

Almost Tangible

11 Paintings by Amy Hoedemakers

Moray Gallery, Dunedin

10am, 12-11-21

Viewed by Angela Trolove                                                                                                      

Otherworldly Hues and an Impressionist Touch Result in Mesmerising Waterways.                                                                                                                      

Hoedemakers has an eye for bold compositions. Instead of dividing land and sky with the reliable rule of thirds, Hoedemakers dares to halve them. In three landscapes, the horizon runs smack along the centre, giving equal play to the ever-changing sky and to either smooth pebbled beaches or grassy wetlands. In All That’s Gold Lights The Way 2, this halving outright directs the elements. On land, earth and water hibernate in restful horizontal strokes. These contrast grass, etched back into gold foil with the verticals of growth. Then the uplift of the sky’s voluminous clouds introduces a third dynamic: movement. Rest, growth, and movement kept separate unto the halves; the distinction is compelling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Aside from halves, Hoedemakers also tilts our gaze to moody riverbeds. In the triptych, Tangible Dream, the horizon is limited to the top seventh of the boards, to tremendous effect: the weather looms; our vision is localised. Absent of birds, these landscapes reveal the relationships between plants, rocks, water and weather. These relationships amount to a wholeness, paramount perhaps to the sanctuary Hoedemakers intends her paintings provide.

A third intriguing compositional element is the deep blue band of river blurring vertically through many paintings. Central, they lengthen the depth of field. They seep into the riverbanks in a marshy way, and they absorb this viewer, even umbilically. They give a sense of immortality and security, like a river in a rainstorm. Planted midstream, yet with no reflection or shadow of the artist, or of any figure in fact, these are natural visions – the river unto itself.                                                                                                                       

Blue Haze, a large tondo (circle-shaped painting), is moonlit. Here, the banks of a river are only implied, they gradually colour into luminous bodies of land. Brown weeds and rocks or white water whisper in the foreground. That rare thing – a figureless landscape without fences and trees, this work has a nocturnal allure. Diffuse and transporting, it lulls the viewer into its generous, lento pace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Hoedemakers’ interest in mark making is evident in her Garden River series. These five tondi overlay silver leaf with prussian oil. On these flicker topaz, emerald, burnt sienna, and even fuchsia. Surface marks behave like schools of fish; here are fleeting convictions. A live titanium white quickens half the brush strokes, while the other half mingles – dragged into the base colours. These semi transparent stokes build up, toying with opacity. Varied directions of strokes pull viewers like underwater currents: not zero gravity but inversions of gravity. Contrasting these lively marks are deep blue blurs, blurs which read like dream sequences. It is as though one is looking through a pane of rain.                                               

Deploying bold compositions, renewing the grace of impressionism, and squirrelling in with downward brush strokes and upward etching, Hoedemakers opens portals. These, her latest paintings, bring the strength of the elements and the serenity of remote, moonlit waterways.

Review by Angela Trolove November 2021


Amy's Artist Statement:

Almost Tangible, a body of abstract and landscape paintings is loosely based around Aotearoa’s riverbeds, although not entirely obvious to specific places, capturing the dreamy, dramatic and mystical quality that surrounds. All of the works are painted in oils and some have silver leaf or gold leaf in the works, creating a play with light and giving the pieces a special luminous quality.

These paintings endeavour to have a feeling of a ‘sanctuary’ or ‘a place to rest’. They are emotive and almost tangible, and hopefully calming. 

My paintings are always evolving, and I think as you grow as a person your work changes too. It’s quite reflective in that aspect.

Our way to connect to one another and the stories we tell, is of the utmost importance. It’s been a crazy couple of years for everyone and as an artist it’s becoming paramount to tell a story and by doing so connect to others.