the pilot and the passenger
02 Feb – 18 Mar 2023
the pilot and the passenger is a presentation of new works by Blue Mountains-based artist Gene A’Hern. After recent presentations in the US and central Europe, the pilot and the passenger is the artist’s first solo in Melbourne. Filling 1301SW in a flurry of colour and texture, this new series of large-scale paintings and works on paper continues his innovation, experimentation and emphasis of material, technique and process.
At the core of A’Hern’s practice is a deep engagement with drawing. Gestural marks are made with a combination of processes revealing an eruption of recognizable elements from his everyday landscape: mountain peaks, rain, sky, and bushland. Raw pigment is rubbed and spattered across the surface, muddying into mess and chaos. Revealing pulsating textures of rough coarseness and soft velvet, expanding and contracting over the canvas in a swirling mass reminiscent of Hans Hoffman’s ‘push and pull’ as bold colours energetically recede and advance across the surface.
Overflowing from the depths of his subconscious, A’Hern’s work is honest and emotive, presenting an internal dialogue and automatic response to the real. Oscillating between abstraction and landscape, portrait and still life painting, his work is arbitrarily engaged in modernist painting yet looks inward to echo a unique pictorial language, as depth and movement reveal a lyrical illustration of place.