T.J. McNamara - feb 1988


A complete surprise is the exhibition by Werner Watty at Star Art Galery in Karganahape RD. This is a completely unheralded show by a Belgian artist who has been visiting New Zealand for several months, staying mostly in Coromandel.

The work does not show his response to this country but is a display of Universal themes and images.

The most immediately appealing works are the two series of drawings called “zonder”. These show highly skilled variations of texture and contrast between linear and softer elements. The images are often of dim figure or heads surrounded by marks and signs, especially arrows, that seem to offer positive directions but are lost among falset rils and clouds.

This theme is continued in two sets of three big paintings called “square, triagle and circle”. One of the sets is very interestingly done on transparant paper and can be viewed from two sides.

The geometrical shape glows in the centre of each one as a Universal, simple sign and around it are placed cloudy figures in black whose existence is much less positive. Around them undulate all kinds of trail and sign.

In the second series, on paper, the symbolism is denser and quality of the painter’s handling more apparent. It is a pity that the use of the materials are so casual and impermanent.

The paintings are accompanied by a set of prints that are particularly¬† fine, especially ”6687”, where several dozen figures in the style of a cave drawing engage in what might be a game or war or both.

 

T.J. McNamara - The New Zealand Herald - feb 1988