Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art

A response to VESTIGES

The painted surface in Adrienne Gaha’s latest works is restless. In the landscapes here, a single colour has been painted and then wiped back with solvents and rags and brushes. Exaggerating paint’s liquid qualities, the images she makes are evanescent. Like mirages, the forms seem unstable and transitional; at once, holding shape and dissolving back into paint. It is the oscillation between these two states that sets up an elemental tension in all of the works here.

Deliberately, Gaha provokes this restless to-ing and fro-ing between figuration and abstraction; between depth and surface; narrative and a refusal of that narrative. An adept draughtsperson, she displays control of the imagery on the one hand and abandoned, spontaneous mark making on the other. There can be visual transparency and depth: Cupid and a swooning Psyche, Bunny’s languorous women, clouds and trees and space. But she disrupts these passages with pools of opaque paint. Dribbling and splashing, they draw us...