Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spider man

You always knew when it was a letter from Tony Fomison. That spindly handwriting crawling across the envelope like a chemically enhanced spider had unmistakable obsession steeped in a self consciously fashioned retro style. Fomison’s writing was as much a part of him as the hand that crafted the words and it appeared everywhere; on his letterbox (warning visitors to either make an appointment or leave him alone), on the bottom of his paintings carefully detailing the dates of various stages and iterations and of course in the many notebooks he kept over the years.

In a terrific small exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery (down the back of the ground floor contemporary galleries) you can get a first-hand taste of Fomison’s personality. This is because it includes a vitrine displaying some of the archival material that is now in the Gallery’s collection along with the careful selection of paintings. It really is great to see the artworks alongside this source material including a couple of journals and items that were crucial to Fomison process and thinking. 

All up it’s like taking a sidewards peep into the studio, a work space that was always cluttered with magazines, books, torn out illustrations and notes and more notes. And how about those notebooks and those lists …  and all that crazy spindly writing.

Image: top, Tony Fomison in his Gunson Street studio in 1978. Bottom a detail from one of Fomison’s note books on view at the Auckland Art Gallery

Other OTN posts on Tony Fomison:
The missing Senator
Fomison lookalike
Looking like Fomison