Recent Acquisitions

Richard Maloy - Attempts 11

Richard Maloy - Attempts 11
Attempts 11
Colour photographic print
800 x 1200mm

"At first glance, Richard Maloy's multiple Attempts can't help but evoke a host of art historical predecessors, from the gestural scrapings of Robert Rauschenberg to the pointed scribbles of Cy Twombly. With solemn deadpan, each of the twelve untitled panels presents a different optical field seemingly imprinted with the expressive traces of the artist. On cue, we could even offer a convincing-enough reading (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) rehashing some of the medium's familiar touchstones:  the picture plane, its flatness and all that jazz.

Those familiar with the artist's practice will of course be suspicious of such facile narratives, for far from enforcing art historical teleologies, Maloy invariably works to unravel them. Indeed, if he invokes traces of these figures, he does so haphazardly, and not in their heroic incarnations as paragons of post-Greenbergian painting, but in a much more diminutive sense: during their Black Mountain College days, fumbling under the tutelage of Josef Albers to figure out what the hell to do with a blank square. For in fact, each of these artfully composed rectangles is a full-scale photograph of a student's worktable, twelve in total, amassed while Maloy was teaching at Elam School of Fine Arts at The University of Auckland. The added kicker is that these were sculpture students (so much for medium specificity) and the results are just the material remnants of so many failed experiments, shots in the dark and, perhaps even a few mini-triumphs, that a diligent instructor archived and re-oriented (from horizontal to vertical) to give them an unexpected afterlife in the gallery."

Franklin Melendez, Attempts exhibition essay, 2010

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