Ian Greig: Not Fade Away

31 January - 23 February 2019
Exhibition Text

The lyrical paintings of Ian Greig visualise the invisible links that entwine physical and metaphysical worlds. Seeking meaning in colour, form and rhythm, the Sydney artist approaches painting as a poetic gesture; a means of siphoning the aesthetic and philosophical currency of the world around us. Greig’s subterranean landscapes prompt a meditation on the corporeal experience of the natural world as well as the intangible micro realm of fluctuating energy, waves and vibrations.


Greig’s creative process is fluid and organic. Without any preconceived ideas of the outcomes, he works intuitively, engaging with the behaviour of oil paint through a melange of surface effects. Fine layers of paint create crystalline veils that conceal what lies beneath the surface and, in doing so, reveal a hidden world beyond appearances. Amorphic forms and limber brushstrokes dance in and out of recognition while vivid colour mingles and melts in kaleidoscopic formations, creating embryonic worlds surging into existence. Each painting appears as if we are squinting through glass at a distant landscape on a rainy day, the raindrops slowly coming into focus and conjuring new terrain – an ambiguous domain of transcendent realities and elusive truths.


The fundamental force of gravity is an ever-present feature in these drippy, visceral configurations, and yet there is a lightness to Greig’s paintings as they capture an ephemeral floating world of surface reflection and light refraction. Echoing the undulations of light and shadow that ripple across the reflective surfaces of creeks and ponds, the works evoke shifting perspectives, spatial illusions and abstract realities. Here the distinction between energy and matter fades away, as each painted form merges into one another like sunlight through water. These plays of light and colour suggest a sense of the auditory, where synaesthetic gestures of visual rhythms, timbres and tonalities resemble fleeting musical reverberations. For Greig, the only sound that matters exists in the fractal border between simplicity and complexity. ‘Negotiating this border’, he says, ‘is the hardest thing.’

Although inspired by the natural world, these paintings do not look outwards to the physical landscape but gaze inwards, probing metaphysical depths that, at times, have a cosmological dimension – an awareness of the presence of the infinitely large and the infinitely small intertwined. This convergence of the micro and the macro, the empirical and the speculative, provokes a quiet contemplation of the infinite indiscernible forces operating within and around us all. 


Ian Greig has exhibited with Arthouse Gallery since 1997 and been involved in over fifty group exhibitions spanning twenty years. Currently the Postgraduate Coordinator at the National Art School in Sydney, Greig completed his doctoral thesis in "The Aesthetics of the Sublime in Twentieth Century Physics" in 2002. He has lectured, written, given many public talks and is an accomplished speaker on the subject of art theory.
Greig's work is held in public and private collections throughout Australia, UK, Spain and Canada including Government House, SA and Artbank.

Installation Views