Robin Neate

Ray and The Other Yesterdays

5th Jul –
29th Jul 2023

OPENING EVENT: Wednesday 5th July, 5.30-7.30pm.

Robin Neate is a Christchurch based artist and senior lecturer in painting at Ilam School of Fine Art, University of Canterbury.  He has exhibited locally and nationally in both private and public institutions for several decades and has works in public and private collections throughout Australasia.

These two major works from “The Ray Paintings” series of 2013 are a homage to Nicholas Ray (1911 – 1979) and in particular his film noir masterpiece “In a Lonely Place” (1950). Ray’s compositions and use of colour are well regarded and were very influential on the French New Wave art film movement of the late 50’s.

Ray himself was “the outcast Hollywood rebel, white hair, black eye-patch, and a head full of subversion and controlled substances.”   In writing about the isolation or outsiderness of Ray’s cinema, the filmmaker and critic Jacques Rivette proposed that “everything always proceeds from a simple situation where two or three people encounter some elementary and fundamental concepts of life. And the real struggle takes place in only one of them, against the interior demon of violence … which seems linked to man and his solitude.” (Nick Harte, 2018 for the Christchurch Art Gallery). 

These works  are sumptuous chromatic fields evoking and reinterpreting the distribution of Canterbury’s gloriously pinkish twilit horizons on a brisk, autumn night. Works in this series are in the Auckland Art Gallery and Christchurch Art Gallery collections.  

“The Yesterday Paintings” are from around the same period and as smaller works play with our physical experience of painting. “The small paintings....force the viewer to come so very close to them.  To enter them, the viewer needs to be a single breath away, almost cheek to paint.  This physical intimacy commands our attention....and Robin Neate invites us to reevaluate our physical relationship with the painting.” (Emilie Sitzia, 2013)

"Gloria Grahame" 2013, oil on canvas, 1830 x 1365 mm