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Bryan Spier · History Paintings


Waaaaaay back in 2011 we ran the briefest of posts about Melbourne artist Bryan Spier, who makes kaleidoscopic abstract paintings incorporating bold geometry and vivid colour.

We’re back today with Bryan’s latest body of work, currently on show at Sarah Scout Gallery in Melbourne.

14th July, 2015
Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 14th July 2015

History Paintings’ is Bryan Spier’s latest exhibition, on now until August 15th at Sarah Scout Gallery in Melbourne. This body of work has been three years in the making, and is characteristically sharp, colourful and fragmented.

‘The paintings are based on shapes that have no figurative connotations, so that they focus attention on relationships of colour, contrast and repetition’ explains Bryan, who is influenced by artists such as Melinda Harper, Bridget Riley, Mondrian, Tomma Abts, and Peter Maloney. A big inspiration for this show in particular is Mondrian’s painting ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’, which Bryan describes as an ‘intensely layered, storied, and unresolved masterpiece’.

History Paintings’ consists of 15 abstract works, unified by bold colours and sharp lines. Bryan is meticulous in his mark making, making use of various stencils to create the precise lines and shapes in these works. ‘I have a bunch of different shaped objects in my studio that I use as templates to draw on the canvas’ he explains. ‘I think of these as characters that interact on the canvas to produce a situation instead of a composition. I don’t necessarily know what they are going to do, and sometimes the initial drawing is so dense and chaotic that I have to edit savagely to make sense of the image’.

Beyond this show, Sarah Scout Gallery will also be showing some of Bryan’s work at this year’s Spring 1883 art fair in Sydney. This event will occupy the whole of the Establishment Hotel in Sydney from the 9th to 12th of September – positioned as a kind of ‘alternative’ art fair, last year’s ‘Spring 1883’ event took place in various floors of the Windsor hotel in Melbourne, and received rave reviews! Well worth a look if you’re in Sydney in September.

Bryan is also involved in an ambitious project at C3 gallery at the Abbotsford Convent in mid September, which he says will be ‘a bit experimental and fun’. As well as these things he is looking forward to becoming a father later this year!

Bryan has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, and is a current PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Canberra School of Art.

History Paintings by Bryan Spier
Open now until 15 August 2015
Sarah Scout Gallery
Victor Horsley Chambers
Level 1/12 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC

‘Jealous Painting Non-Sequential’ by Bryan Spier, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm from his current show History Paintings at Sarah Scout Gallery.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email