Child’s Play Has More To Say

Lee Switzer


ARTbop Contributor, writer and photographer Lee Switzer attended the opening of Lynette Fisher’s recent exhibition at The Incubator Gallery at the Historic Village, Tauranga and provides an interpretation of

the paintings.

Dangling girls, both upside down, hanging from a horizontal bar. They appear to be different ages sharing the same spirit. It is a time-in-motion rhythm beating out erroneous foregone conclusions.

Stark realism. Apparent simplicity, minimalist, belies the complex issues within juxtaposed figures. Children playing, black clothed, echo the black background. Mingling the inside outside darkness provides a sub-textual integration of a subconscious reservoir of emotions.

Nevertheless an on-going, lively jumping swinging flipping children in the playground seem to have a fun day. Or is it night? At the same time, there is a solitary aspect to the experience. Is it a pleasant solitude? Does the single game, perhaps with her doppelgänger retrieve beauty, or batter; does play invent new memories that cover the past.

Lynette Fisher places her images distant but to the fore as she carefully outlines in white, children and other objects. The canvas texture lends its obvious rough strength to exposure within a painting of nocturnal illuminations. It is a distinction that forces us to contemplate the topographic interplay Fisher has constructed.

Her well-crafted illusions stay with us as the gate closes to one playground and another opens. A child in coloured dress. It must have been a lie (2018.) Alone. A colourful butterfly, moth, bird, perched high above the young girl.

And therein the question rises – is it pantomime showing, in Lynette Fisher’s words “rituals surrounding play….” Or in those repetitive movements, flights of fancy emerging. In fact, the innocent mind may pretend laughter while hiding in caverns to thwart unseen reality.

You could be anyone (2017.)This painting is about the size of a (old school) blackboard. White chalk streaks across the black board, but takes a bird like form. Flight. Faint silhouettes in white outline appear to be adults and children. Who we were once upon a time. Did we know ourselves then, do we know ourselves now in retrospect. Or perhaps it is more circumspect. An unidentified ghost lays in wait to be exposed.

One visitor at the gallery remarked: “maybe we are behind the blackboard looking out at the people.” Maybe it is a mirror. Could these ghost-like figures represent, again in Lynette Fishers’ words, “family artifacts and their continuing importance in our histories [?]”

In We use cups and saucers and say grace at our house (2018), we see a lone girl/woman in a full length black coat looking down at an object in her hands, a black cat sits nearby – outlined in white. Far above the two images is a house in silhouette. Standard house; car on the drive way to the right. One addition makes a difference – a ramp from ground to the porch. Once again, metaphoric images within and without the continuous black background foreground is open to interpretation. The painting prescribes an interplay between age, animal and hearth – an active, living memory.

Other paintings in the exhibition include activities, fish and games that offer diverse images displaying the artists’ well developed skills.

Lynette Fisher has been a participant in many past exhibitions. This is her first solo show. Her painting My Friend Awhina, 1981 (2018) won the Ethel MacMillan Award at the 2018 Venetta Miles Art Awards, Tauranga Art Gallery. .

Viewers needed to take time to study, see and feel the emotions in this exhibition. The ambiguity relies on the viewer’s decision to engage with art. You must decide if you think there is/is not a definitive connection between apparent disparate parts.

I Am What I Play, closes tomorrow 27 November 2018  The Incubator Gallery, 17th Avenue, Historic Village.

More about Lynette Mary Fisher here. For more paintings, photos, videos (including how to release stress) visit this page.

Text and images by Lee Switzer who is a regular contributor to ARTbop. You can find examples of Lee’s photography and images, poetry, short stories, event and exhibition reviews and book reviews in the ARTbop archives. Lee is also a long-time contributor to the archives of the  Tauranga kete managed by the Tauranga City Library