from “The Memory of Becoming”
Ann Poulsen, 2014
“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful, but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look … to affect the quality of the day … “
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
‘Johl Dwyer’s artworks are created from plaster and cedar. They are set into forms recognisable as paintings in a making process through which the artist assays pictorial space as well as the grammar of painting itself. Creating a tension between surface plane and physical depth, between image and materiality, between practice and artwork, Dwyer addresses ‘frame’ not as method for composing an image but as the edge of an object, replaces the thin layer of canvas with dense, active substrate, and integrates colour into the structure of the work rather than simply applying it. Each of these is a formal gesture in exploring the definition of his chosen medium.
Part of his artworks’ vitality lies in the way they delight us with their captivation of colour. If Klein Blue is one kind of readymade, the chromas which develop and bloom inside Dwyer’s works are another. From soft chalky whites to glowing jewel tones, colours emerge and mutate throughout the making process, recording the passage of time and the elemental transformation from liquid to solid. Undermining both the notion of surface as a kind of virtual flatness, and that of the blank canvas awaiting the hand of the artist, Dwyer’s colours have developed a life of their own.
By relinquishing control and by introducing chance into a process of scientific consistency, the artist addresses both the limits and the potential of Minimalism, uncovering a potential for lyricism within the presence of austerity.
This is how Johl Dwyer affects the quality of the day.’
Artist Portrait Photograph: Kallan MacLeod