CRUST | Anna Gore

Crust Anna GoreAnna Gore, Adelaide Central Gallery. 3 July, 2024


The title of Anna Gore’s solo exhibition, CRUST provides an ambiguous starting point for this collection of paintings and wall-based objects. It implies that there is a surface or an armour to be penetrated or picked away. Is the artist inviting the viewer to hover at the edge of the works, or asking for a deeper and more probing investigation to scratch beneath the surface?


Ultimately it is both, as the abstract nature of the works offers aesthetic assemblages of shapes, colours and forms. Then on closer inspection or consideration, layers and levels of meaning can be understood beneath the crust. At the core of the exhibition are four large-scale paintings, which Gore has been working on for several years. The largest of these – an oil-on-linen entitled Fabric – is stretched across one of the longer gallery walls. Unframed and nailed around the edges, it has almost a rustic quality, with its hues of greys and greens evoking a sepia-toned diorama of squares, circles and geometric forms. This assemblage has both domestic and architectural references, playing with scale and illusion – a pitcher and pile of cups take on a grand scale next to stacks of oblong shapes resembling a temple or ancient forum.


Crust title image

Cometh, 2021-2024. Photo Sam Roberts @samrophoto


In her exhibition essay, Lily Trnosvsky refers to conversations with Gore and her references to the Umbilicus Urbis Romae, or the symbolic centre of ancient Rome. This interest in antiquity is a source of inspiration across the works with shapes of columns, arches, amphorae and pedestals repeated and floating or grounded amongst shadowy, heavy blocks and spheres. The oil-on-canvas work Relics and Ruins #1 (crust edition) depicts a series of poles of varying shapes in the foreground and background. They appear like a forest of trees hovering in a dark pool, or an abandoned ancient structure that has been left quietly to decay in a subterranean cave. The frayed edges and crumpled-painting effects, give a sense that the work has been aged and found amongst the ruins of an ancient city.


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Fabric, 2024. Photo Sam Roberts @samrophoto


Gore’s finely honed painting techniques are evident throughout the exhibition. The four larger paintings have a quality of depth and shade, with the muted colours worked and reworked to reveal nuances of muted colours and tones. Three smaller works – each from a series entitled Space Junk – focus on Gore’s interest in geometric shapes and patterns. Positioned at the start of the exhibition, they act as an introduction to the forms that repeat throughout the works as both painted and 3D objects. Cones and cubes appear to float like space junk in a dark green plane, with the oil on timber panel providing a slight sheen and gloss to their abstraction.


A recurring symbol within all of the works is the coil, which acts as a contrast to the geometric forms and line drawn shapes. This centrality of the coil evokes a tension between the contained and the desire to break free, a shape without boundaries or restrictions. Could this represent a breaking out from the confinements of Euclidean conformity, or a sense of chaos amidst order and discipline? A clue to these questions and explorations is in the collection of wall-based objects, hung amongst a series of small oil-on-panel works.


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Untitled (crust #15), 2020-2024. Photo Sam Roberts @samrophoto


Occupying an entire wall space from floor to ceiling, these are all untitled works that seem to be sketches or experiments in both 2D and 3D shape, form and dimensionality. They provide an insight into Gore’s research and studio processes as preparation for the larger works, but also as a suite of individual, stand-alone pieces. Sitting at the heart of this depiction of cones, blocks and triangles is the coil. Positioned centrally and worked through in both sculptural and painted form, the coil resembles a living, oozing, freeform-shape amongst the architectural and geometric formality. It appears to be organic and a reference to the Umbilicus Urbis Romae, the symbolic umbilical cord from which all distances in ancient Rome were measured.


Returning to the title and theme of this exhibition CRUST, Anna Gore seeks to explore how ideas of formality and structure are represented and experienced. There is a formalism to her abstract shapes and her approach to assembling them within the plane or surface. Yet beneath this, there is a questioning of this formalism and a desire to release the messy and the organic. Her dark and shadowy palette of greens, umber and greys creates a heaviness of architectural weight; yet there is a sense of the organic and lifelike, just beneath the surface, alive and patient, waiting for the formal to crumble and make way for something new and unknown.


Julianne PierceCrust Anna Gore


When: 4 June to 12 July

Where: Adelaide Central School of Art Gallery

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