All Black


mixed media on ply, frame
1360mmH x 1360mmW x 31mmD

Series: Concrete Art

In All Black, the gridded field is open for inspection, a pitch-black space for the human psyche and imagination in an absorbing night-scape. Enveloping the viewer's body, the black square in the white wall opens a void or a portal to another place. In the all-encompassing darkness, All Black brings the Universe, mysticism and creation legends to the fore. In Christian theology, the dark is a "cloud of unknowing”, a divine space. In Te Ao Māori, the darkness is associated with Te Kore, the void of unlimited potential, a nothingness with nascent organising systems. Inside a pitted post-colonial frame, the grid lines of All Black describe structural frameworks where multiple units form a whole, a collective or team, distinct from and centred on the white wall.

Allusions to spirituality and decolonisation extend into culture and sport as All Black invokes the All Blacks, NZ’s legendary rugby team. In the wall-work, fifteen full blocks also command the field, with half blocks on the side-lines as benched reserves. Collectively impenetrable, each block holds a defined position yet supports the pack weight. All Black interacts with its environment, like concrete absorbing warmth during the day and emitting heat at night, it emulates bodily function in a post-performance sweat. A male 'first fifteen' also dominate the canon of black painting field, a field seeking to promote collective ideals – from Malevich, Rauschenberg, Stella and Reinhardt in USA and Europe, to Mrkusich and Hotere in Aotearoa NZ. The geometry of All Black establishes the groundwork for a replication of current conditions while its heat transfer properties bring life to abstraction, and the square shrinks, swells, and breathes new air.