TALL TALES, 11 March – 5 AprilL 2008
Many of the ideas and images for Wayne Youle's latest show have come from his ongoing interest in tattoo, and the idea of being 'branded' with images that "evoke memories of the time when things were pretty and we all were young". Of these new paintings the artist writes that [although] "the paint drips and imperfections might take away some of their obvious beauty they also remind us that something young and new will always - one day - be something old". His family's stories have been another source of inspiration ... From a Boy to a Man grew from Wayne's memory of the tiger tattoo on his grandfather's chest; a tiger that Wayne was told had started as a cub but was growing older as his grandfather became older. My Girlfriend's Mum was generated by a tattoo 'flash' resembling a photograph of his girlfriend's mother as a young woman.
A pre-occupation with the fleeting nature of life is evident in the show's skull paintings. Wayne says: "We have a skull each, its marks and dents tell the story of our lives, and each is like a waka huia; a treasure box for our most precious functions." Even kings (whether 'actual' or 'art-world') must one day face mortality, and Wayne sees the skull as "a sign for the left-over you when all the hype is cleared away". With their obvious Vanitas association skulls have become something of a Youle trademark, and he is intrigued with the way these culturally loaded objects are treated in Mexican art and society ... that is, with both humour and respect.
In this new body of work on canvas and linen Wayne has used vibrantly coloured acrylic inks and/or thinned enamel paints. The paintings are made quickly, with swift but tightly controlled brush-strokes, and have a confidence and immediacy that reflect the speed of their making. The work has a clean-edged, almost poster-like quality, with variations in the inks' opacity giving the impression that the subjects are floating over pools of shimmering colour.
This exhibition, Wayne Youle's second solo at Tim Melville Gallery, has been inspired by what he describes as "BOY'S OWN ANNUAL-type shit". It's about the stories grandfathers tell their grandsons and the stories fathers tell their boys. Wayne and his partner Kelli are looking forward to the birth of their first child in the Autumn.