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Geoff Thornley (b. 1940)

Lot 58: Geoff Thornley Tondo acrylic on canvas on board

Webb’s – Specialist Auctioneers’

December 4, 2007
Epsom, New Zealand

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Geoff Thornley Tondo acrylic on canvas on board signed and dated 3.81 verso Provenance: Private Collection, Wellington 1175mm diameter Geoff Thornley is widely recognized as 'a painter's painter, an artist's artist'. He produced the interlocking wooden constructions such as Tondo, between 1978 and 1982. This seminal period is a very important series in Thornley's development. Thornley employs finely textured polyester canvas, stretched and folded around the edges of thin wooden panels in the production of these works. Each piece is gessoed to attain a plaster like smoothness with the slight nuance of a canvases gridded weave, painted with layers of fine veils of paint, slowly applied over a long period of time resulting in a staining effect. Tondo exists of two paneled layers that interlock together employing a precise system of fastenings. The composition originates like every other in the series from a watercolour study. The openness of the circular colour field is cut into by triangular wedges, which arithmetically trisect and progress in size, 1:2:3. A finite punctum on an infinite void. Which inhabits an uncertain space between the two dimensional and the three dimensional, oscillating between the material three dimensional and the painted non-objective. Thornley seeks clarity in style and aesthetic that goes beyond the rigidity of formalist structures. Thornley has commented that around the time that the Constructions began, he wanted to escape the atmospheric and quasi-naturalistic effects that the softer more painterly Albus work still seemed to encourage - of wanting to escape reference, allusion and illusionistic effects altogether ( reference: Geoff Thornley Constructions 1978-1982 page 9. A conversation between Morgan Thomas and Thornley April 2007). Jonathan Organ

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