Stealth-Mode

1 September – 25 September 2021

TIRA WALSH

Gallery 9 is delighted to present Tira Walsh's exhibition Stealth-mode, opening online on July 14th. Subject to further health restrictions, the gallery will reopen on the 17th July and the exhibition will continue until August 7th 2021.

Tira Walsh is an emerging artist who lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. Her work has been reviewed in Art Collector Magazine in 2020 and Artist Profile Magazine in 2021. 

Danae Ripley writes:

"Stealth-mode reflects Tira Walsh’s recent output, synthesizing abstract painting, urban environments, and power relations into pictorial worlds where the logic is order versus havoc.

Walsh’s demeanour in the studio is what gives the works their intensity. The relationship between the painter and painting is one of the key facets that programs her picture-making. The drive to hustle to get one step ahead of the painted “moves” means that Walsh is prepared to be cutthroat in the painting process, reckoning gritty application with controlled form. The pressure to gain the upper hand escalates and creates a furore of painterly incidence. Her manipulations wrangle the painting back into composure. The ‘all-over’ marks popularised in American abstraction, appear in these works as charged fields. Walsh is fluent in editing and disrupting orientation and reading, a key strategy in the game. The spatial planes are sometimes already anticipated and refused with masked off sections that are evidence of the artist’s control. Mesmerize (2021) is fraught with tension; a dual smoke field pushes back in the top and shrouds forwards in the bottom half of the work. Smooth electric blue lines extend over reductive white sprigs on the centre-right. In the top left, the white scrawls restore spatial relations with the initial flat plane.

In the paintings for Stealth-mode, aerosol comes up against jagged shapes, and smooth lines hum across the flat surfaces. Turbulent urban life, its ruins and appeals can be mapped in the painting’s language. The night is a condition for uncertainty, through painted altercations Walsh capitalises on the graphic and elusive prospects of our intensifying environments. Within the anonymity darkness affords, night becomes the perfect location for disorder and negotiations, and where Tira Walsh’s paintings find their dystopic vision. 

Like a Moth to a Flame

Stars are fascinating, but bright city lights can mesmerize. It's usually one or the other; if you live in a city, you forgo nature and the visual stimuli instead move to electric nightscapes. Under the artificial lights of the night, urban labyrinths take on a whole new mystique. Enamel paint on buildings gleam, digital screens begin to glow, and shadows become unsettling enclaves. This is the nightshift world where posters are torn down and replaced, spray paint meets the containers at the port and roads are marked out in fluorescent spray and torn up. 

In the night, neons, civic shapes and grungy architectural surfaces take on a dystopian appearance. Bright and acidic colours dazzle and confuse, they signal the conditions for violence, disorder, and unbridled pleasure. This is the genesis for Walsh’s painterly devices; night-time anxieties and thrills are transformed into a painted language to control and contend with on a shallow plane. Lacquer is applied in a back and forth dialogue; paint is rolled on, sprayed from the back of the canvas, blended and inscribed. Walsh’s optical abstractions exploit the relationship between special effects and flatness. Drop shadows and hazy space tug at taped off edges and opaque marks. In Technologic (2021), a white and orange glitchy field sits underneath bold spray marks. These are enhanced by the relief of a white line inside the black spray, accented and anticipated by vibrant red."  

Walsh graduated with a Master of Creative Practice from Unitec in 2018. Walsh is represented by Two Rooms Gallery in Auckland where her work has been exhibited on multiple occasions. Other exhibitions include Next, Sydney Contemporary (2019), Sydney, Hustle, Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland (2019), Urbanize, Te Po Gallery (2018); Never An Answer, 12 Abstract Painters, The Vivian, Matakana, curated by Linda Tyler and Lucinda Bennett (2018); Drawcard, State Gallery, Mt Eden, Auckland (2018); My Hands are Visibly Soiled, Snowwhite Gallery, Unitec, Auckland (2018); Roundhouse, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland (2017-2018); Glaister Ennor Art Award Exhibition, Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland (2017). In 2019 Walsh was awarded the Kaipara Wallace Arts Trust Award, receiving a three-month residency at Altes Spital in Solothurn, Switzerland. In 2021 she has been awarded the Eden Arts, Karekare House residency. 

Tira Walsh
Technologic 2021
Mixed media on canvas
100 × 80 cm

Tira Walsh
Mesmerize 2021
Mixed media on canvas
100 × 80 cm

Tira Walsh
New Level 2021
Mixed media on canvas
100 × 80 cm

Tira Walsh
Headlines 2021
Mixed media on canvas
100 × 80 cm