Recoding images and stray residues through the framework of the canvas, painter Tira Walsh courts experiential incoherence as one of her primary materials. Drawing on the affective space of film, special effects and her everyday experiences of the urban environment, Walsh transmutes the excesses of physical sensation into a punch-and-blur language that treats each canvas as a ‘repository of negotiation’. Taking cues from coloured light spills and street stains, hyper-speed and diegetic sound, the manipulations of after-effects and the energetic detritus of the city, Walsh reorders a collage of physical intensities into freefall painterly landscapes of jump cuts and phase shifts.
Calling on a range of gestural and compositional devices, Walsh works with both acrylics and enamels to carve colliding layers of texture and tenses into her canvases. Surfaces break and bend frequencies, lines cut and swerve. Underbellies and dormant imaginaries rise to split surfaces and shift codes. Opening each canvas to interference and background noise in this way, Walsh draws subterranean sensations across the line and into focus, pushing the multidimensionality of lived existence and the canvas to full volume. Grasping the responsive and multidirectional potential of the medium, without surrendering a clear centre of action, her practice takes a stance that encompasses both fluidity and strength.
The paintings assembled for Hustle are drawn from work Walsh has produced over a three-year period from her large shared studio in Mount Albert. Working with a range of support structures, each painting is first developed in a supine position with the artist working on both sides of the canvas. Through processes of collage-like layering and subtractive stencilling, she elaborates on the language she has built from collections of found sources and self-referential abstract narratives. Pitching her work back at the world, rather than siloing off its commentary and effects, Walsh gives her game a head start with the title of this exhibition. There’s no body laid bare, no retreat from worldly complexity signed to in this oeuvre. Rather, just a claim to one’s own hustle, and a nod to that of others.