Bumblebee and Ducky
Reception: 26 Feb 2022, 12-5

Exhibition: 26 Feb – 9 Apr, 2022
Hours: Tues – Sat, 12-5

To view the exhibition PDF click here

Bumblebee and Ducky features sculptures by Barry Doupé and paintings by Jeff Hallbauer that lean into liberating artistic strategies – relying on intuition and the artists’ own affective responses to material, colour, and form. While perhaps appearing absurdist in both disjointed arrangements and unusual palettes, Bumblebee and Ducky forecasts a reliance on strong primal instincts.

Barry Doupé’s artistic practice has primarily involved working with computer animation, developed through automatic drawing and writing exercises. In this new series of work, Doupé created seven plaster sculptures depicting various figures – both human and animal – posed with bread or breadstick. After observing athletic trophies and figurines at second-hand stores, Doupé wanted to dismantle the postures and positions that were decidedly monumentalized in celebratory gold or silver, like the moment before a slam dunk, or a dancer mid-leap. Instead of balls and rackets, Doupé found bread – an omnipresent object, material, and ancient form of sustenance. When making his sculptures, Doupé prefers to work quickly, molding the material just with enough contextual information for an audience to recognize figural forms like arms, legs, and hair. Colour helps this process along: paint becomes a methodology of revealing context and information on an otherwise nondescript surface. For example, in Figure with Staff, Doupé originally painted the figure in a monochrome coat of bubblegum pink paint; however, because he noticed that the figure’s features became lost in the cohesive wash of colour, he responded by applying a variety of shades, leaving only the nipples the original pink hue. It is with this intuitive way of making that humour arises out of his work, as the objects and their bread companions become immortalized in plaster and paint.

Jeff Hallbauer’s recent paintings are an extension of his larger practice, initiated by an intuitive and sensory-based approach. Hallbauer’s interest in industrial design and colour placement has informed his latest body of work. For example, in rug and carpet design, the artist observed how two opposing colours placed side-by-side inform each other and create an illusion of relationship. In his latest work, Happy Place, Hallbauer painted a swarm of bubbles ascending toward the upper right corner of the canvas. Where the bubbles intermittently overlap each other like a Venn diagram, Hallbauer explored colour relationships and illusion, sometimes creating a new colour in response to its parent colours, or by blending translucent layers together. There is a calculated ease about Hallbauer’s process, as well as a natural sense of humour. He drew my attention to a few hairs that had become trapped in the sticky oil paint, which had frustrated him; for me, however, this transfer of body-to-canvas suggested playful gesture in his embodied approach to painting. The artist’s work exudes a harmonious dichotomy between deliberate precision and natural instinct – between sharply carving out lines and allowing edges to bleed and splay. Hallbauer’s paintings are inherent of continual new beginnings and a sense of authentic self.

Text by Andrea Valentine-Lewis