Simon Kerr - Simon Kerr
Dionne Christian: Art Critic - NZ Herald
I like the art Simon Kerr makes very much.
I see a lot of art and sometimes, especially with contemporary and conceptual art, it can feel like it was created as part of an academic exercise on the part of the artist.
By that, I mean it might be well-executed and attractive (but not always; good art doesn't have to be attractive) but it doesn't feel quite real. It almost feels like it lacks sincerity.
No one could say this of Kerr’s work. It has a visceral quality to it. It feels real and that it is being made about real things in the world that people should relate to and care about i.e. trying to find your way through life when life is not easy but messy and challenging especially when life hasn't always dealt the fairest cards to you and, sometimes, you - we - make a mess of the cards we're holding, anyway.
Despite the best of intentions.
I like that Simon’s paintings stop me in my tracks and rather than looking AT them, I look INTO them and I think about what's there - rage and anger but also sadness and regret and uncertainty, I suppose - and I want to keep looking and reflecting on this and asking questions about what's there.
The use of text is cleverly done (personally, I think art with text is always more interesting) so there can be, I guess, multiple meanings.
"A pointless evolution" I think that's possibly a sentiment we can all relate to when we're trying to go forward, but it feels like we're getting nowhere and then we wonder why we were even trying in the first place.
Or maybe it's means that it's NOT all pointless. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the person looking at the painting has to think and not just wander by and go "that's nice..." and move onto the next one.
The colours Simon uses are also provocative and help to add to the mood and the overall feeling that these paintings cannot be ignored. It's heartening - if that's the right word - to look at art that seems to be made with vigour and passion and isn't sanitised.