Instant imaging

Mark Davies, Hiram To, Edite Videns, John Waller, Pat Hoffie, Adam Wolter, Malcolm Enright
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Instant Imaging, Anne Kirker's innovative survey of some of the Brisbane artists exploring the potential of photocopy art and computer art, offers timely institutional attention and legitimation to a number of loosely affiliated experiments using colour photocopying technology as a means of transforming, collaging and re-colouring existing materials, and/or using the computer as a means of generating, re-generating and animating colour, composition, and verbal-visual imagery. it's a bold show prompting a variety of responses. John Wailer's Study for an untitled landscape (Digges and Eyre) seemed the most obviously striking and innovative piece, extending his work into realms of hard-edged abstraction across fifteen bubble-jet copies.

A strong, unified totality, Wailer's work surprised one with the impact of a composition resisting easy comparison. Mark Davies' zip-tease blow-up distortions of thighs and breasts offered rather less subtle interactive evocations of seeming abstract shapes revealing their figurative origins as one opened the large folders containing their iconography. At their more mysterious, these abstractions evoke something of Georgia O'Keefe's soft patterns; at their more obvious, they re-cycle centerfold conventions.

Hiram To's work offered something of the same enigma; some sort of graphic or pornographic imagery, whirling out of focus beneath heavily mottled glass and layers of Klein-like abstract blue overprinting. Encased within marvelously monumental lead frames, To's work generated its own autonomous logic, literally and figuratively self-contained and convincing. Malcolm Enright's work pursued interest in more obvious verbal-visual punch lines, shamelessly and exuberantly grafting 'inseparable' images together like so many reluctant Siamese twins. Enright's awesome and awful virtuosity shreds and seduces one's sensibility-again, with a confident, self-contained autonomy. Pat Hoffie's installation, Thanks for the memories ... , boldly juxtaposing Warholesque wallpaper blow ups against a Juddlike series of small, laser-printed cubes, seemed less obviously complete, midway perhaps between minimal and maximal composition.

Both Edite Videns' and Adam Welter's computer- generated prints left me with slightly mixed feelings. One of the most interesting younger Brisbane artists working with this media, Videns' computerized images of biographical material seemed alive with slightly unrealized or slightly cramped potential, at times appearing like reduced colour reproductions of some vaster, absent variant. Once again, Welter's computer images evoked remarkable craftsmanship and colour. At best, his prints reveal rare, gem-like surfaces and line reminiscent of Klee or Vermeer. Whether laminated A4 prints are the best medium for such artistry is something I still tend to doubt. Maybe light boxes or a series of illuminated screens would suit the genre better or perhaps giant, quilt-like wall of thirty or so A4 prints might work more effectively than the familiar trail of single A4 images. One awaits a subsequent, more lavish exhibition.