For The Physics Room, Melbourne-based artist Geoff Newton has produced a new suite of paintings drawing influence from 1980s and 70s recipe books. Visit any bookshop and it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the vast array of books selling glossy pictures, step by step guidelines and tasteful trends back to us; and that’s only in the cooking section.
Operating as literal ‘how to’ guides, recipes document and transmit specific cultural practices to do with the preparation and consumption of available and obtainable ingredients. The fact that these ingredients are able to be selected and manipulated by any savvy home economist or budding chef and transformed into more visibly enticing and desirable arrangements, doesn’t fall too far away from the tasteful selections of any contemporary art collector.
From home and entertaining magazines to fine art periodicals, serial publications consistently act as shop windows and dressed sets for the ideas and objects they contain, as well as operating as a time-bound archive and index of fashionable tastes. Packed with photographs and specialist information, auction catalogues have come to be valued throughout the world not only as collectors’ items in their own right, but as indispensable reference guides.
Think colourful stacks of vegetables drizzled with rich sauces on clean white plates accompanied by glistening table settings, while stacks of the latest glossy magazines glimmer promisingly upon coffee-tables and bookshelves alike. French Dressing sees Newton conflate the format and aesthetic rationale of both food photography and fine art publishing with an eye for the economic realities that underline both.
Geoff Newton completed his BFA in 2000 through The Australian National University, Canberra, having spent 1997 - 8 on exchange at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Newton lives and works in Melbourne, is Co-Director of Neon Parc and is currently participating in Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces’ Studio Residency Programme 2009 - 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include: Geoff Newton, Block Projects, Melbourne (2009); Study For A Protest Painting, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (2009); Studio Tan, Gallery 9, Sydney (2008); Geoff Newton Paintings, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2007); Strictly Commercial, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2006); and Hygiene Genie ; Seventh Gallery, Melbourne (2005). Recent group exhibitions include: Texticles, curated by TCB art inc., Melbourne Art Fair (forthcoming in 2010); The Politics of Art, curated by Jan Duffy, Linden Gallery, Melbourne (2010); Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces Studios 2009 exhibition, Melbourne (2009); and Don't Worry It's Only Money, City Art Rooms, Auckland (2009). Newton has exhibited widely and his works are held in various major collections including: Artbank, Rupert Myer AM, KPMG Australia and private collections in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.