By Betty Milonas
David Sequiera’s recent exhibition refers to culture and identity through art and geometry by creating a series of optical illusions and geometric patterns.
Sequeira is a visual artist based in Australia working with a range of mediums to explore narratives through color and geometry. His latest show at GallerySmith Project Space refers to The Responsive Eye exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965 that presented a new art form—Optical Art—that manifested during the 1950s and 1960s. The creation of lines, colors and patterns on various mediums ranging from painting to sculptural works explored a new relationship between the viewer and art. The optical illusions of geometric shapes created an effect that confused and played with the viewers’ eye and their perceptions of space.
Sequeira’s exhibition comments on the optical illusions that were depicted in The Responsive Eye exhibition while also referencing his own cultural background. Upon entry, the gallery the exhibition begins with a series of works composed of gouache on paper that are hung in a white cube gallery. The After ’65 works are unified through a series of black and white backgrounds consisting of patterns and lines.The foreground of each work consists of a miniature portrait of the artist, representing his Indian cultural background.
Sequeira collaborated with Indian miniaturists to create a self- portrait in historic Indian attire, resembling the sixteenth century Emperor Akbar. The rich and warm colors of the portraits are set against the black and white geometrical background. The patterns are painted with precision that allows the viewer to move their gaze towards the silky and earthy tones of the Indian attire. Similar to Optical Art, the After ’65 series encourages the viewer to inspect the works from a distance and also move forward for a closer inspection.
The geometrical patterns are associated with recognizable universal symbols such as pyramids or mathematical signs, thus we tend to form our own structures and identity accordingly. The use of geometry prompts the viewer to question identity and contemplate upon our own background and surroundings.
Adjacent to the After ‘65 series the viewer encounters the Songs 1-50 works that are hung on the back wall. The 50 works are composed of gouache on musical notation paper, incorporating geometry and color to create ‘diagrammatic meditations’. Similarly to the After ’65 works, the musical notation work is a contemplation of the artist’s life—the images become a meditation on the self through the exploration of geometry and art. The layout of each musical notation represents harmony and tones as each work transforms into a musical composition. For instance, the opaque violent, blue, yellow, and orange of the musical notes are a vibrant and emotive element of the works. Throughout Songs 1-50 the rich colors creates a harmonious and meditative aura.
The notion of geometry and art is presented throughout the exhibition as Sequeira questions identity by referring to universal symbols and his cultural background. Each work becomes a space for the viewer to connect with geometry and vibrant colors to contemplate upon our own identity and surroundings.
GallerySmith Project Space, Melbourne
The exhibition ran through April 2, 2016
For further information, please visit: www.gsprojectspace.com