Geoffrey De Groen

15 Feb 2007 to 10 Mar 2007

Read Exhibition Essay

The best of Geoffrey De Groen’s paintings are among the very best things in recent Australian art. They expand and contract with their own mysterious life. Coloured, half-remembered but strangely imperious shapes float on their rough surfaces or recede suggestively. Their edges dissolve into shadow or are haloed by coloured light. Sometimes, searching for familiar hooks, the imagination sees vessels sitting on tables. At other times it confronts ambiguous combinations of inside and outside, interior walls abutting a limitless expanse, sewn together, perhaps, by a third element – a rhomboid of shadow, or a lozenge of coloured light.

De Groen applies paint in extremely thin, film-like layers, so that his forms and shapes become embedded in the surface. He builds up layers of translucent and opaque colour – a sky blue, for instance, might be glazed over with a transparent yellow – and applies it using a scourer rather than a brush: “I’m not interested in brushstrokes,” he says. “I’m interested in the totality.”

The experience of looking through veils, of trying and failing to resolve persistent ambiguities, may occasion a shift in our perceptions of time and, in De Groen’s words, “unlock emotions which are beyond language.”

Referring to a series of black and white paintings by De Groen, Paul McGillick wrote that his masterful sensitivity to spatial ambiguity becomes “a metaphor for the emotional dialectic of the tenebrous room. Where we once took the room for granted, secure in our relationship with it, that extended moment at dusk undermines such security. Suddenly, we feel anxious and emotionally ambivalent.”

The best of De Groen’s work has this effect: it is incredibly quiet and uninsistent, yet it takes us by surprise. Linking unknown things to known things, adding nuance to nuance, transparency to transparency, it asks to be looked at and returned to over time, in different lights, different moods.

Sebastian Smee
Sydney, 2006

artwork Between 2001 & 2003 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

1.  Geoffrey de Groen
Between 2001 & 2003 2001-2003
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
180 x 282  cm

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artwork October 30, 2006 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

3.  Geoffrey de Groen
October 30, 2006 2006
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
105 x 123  cm

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artwork December 2, 2004 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

4.  Geoffrey de Groen
December 2, 2004 2004
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
92 x 95  cm

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artwork January 8, 2005 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

5.  Geoffrey de Groen
January 8, 2005 2005
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
92 x 95  cm

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artwork June 22, 2004 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

6.  Geoffrey de Groen
June 22, 2004 2004
acrylic gouache on canvas
signed, sated and inscribed verso
71 x 101  cm

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artwork November 15, 2004 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

7.  Geoffrey de Groen
November 15, 2004 2004
acrylic gouache on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
66 x 101  cm

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artwork March 30, 2004 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

8.  Geoffrey de Groen
March 30, 2004 2004
acrylic gouache on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed
71 x 101  cm

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artwork September 19,2004 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

9.  Geoffrey de Groen
September 19,2004 2004
acrylic gouache on canvas
signed, dated and inscibed verso
71 x 101  cm

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artwork July 2, 2005 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

10.  Geoffrey de Groen
July 2, 2005 2005
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
70 x 100  cm

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artwork Sometime 2005 (1) by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

11.  Geoffrey de Groen
Sometime 2005 (1) 2005
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
77 x 91  cm

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artwork Sometime 2005 (1) by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

12.  Geoffrey de Groen
Sometime 2005 (1) 2005
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
77 x 91  cm

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artwork January 21, 2006 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

13.  Geoffrey de Groen
January 21, 2006 2006
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
76 x 91  cm

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artwork Untitled 2005 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

14.  Geoffrey de Groen
Untitled 2005 2005
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
59 x 118  cm

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artwork May 19, 2006 by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

15.  Geoffrey de Groen
May 19, 2006 2006
oil on canvas
signed, dated and inscribed verso
47 x 65  cm

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artwork Remote by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

16.  Geoffrey de Groen
Remote 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed, dated and titled verso
10 x 16  cm

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artwork Beyond the Dark by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

17.  Geoffrey de Groen
Beyond the Dark 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed, dated and titled verso
19 x 16  cm

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artwork Passage by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

18.  Geoffrey de Groen
Passage 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled verso
14.5 x 19  cm

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artwork From Time to Time by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

19.  Geoffrey de Groen
From Time to Time 2000
synthetic pigment on hand made paper
signed and titled verso
12.5 x 18  cm

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artwork Bask by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

20.  Geoffrey de Groen
Bask 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled verso
13 x 15  cm

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artwork Starting by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

21.  Geoffrey de Groen
Starting 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled verso
15 x 12  cm

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artwork Dark Window by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

22.  Geoffrey de Groen
Dark Window 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled on verso
10 x 15  cm

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artwork Soft Day by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

23.  Geoffrey de Groen
Soft Day 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled verso
11.5 x 17  cm

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artwork Keeping Things Whole by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

24.  Geoffrey de Groen
Keeping Things Whole 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed, dated and titled verso
16 x 22.5  cm

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artwork Haven by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

25.  Geoffrey de Groen
Haven 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed and titled verso
16 x 18.5  cm

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artwork Sense & Place by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

26.  Geoffrey de Groen
Sense & Place 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed, dated and titled verso
14 x 13.5  cm

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artwork Divide, Distance  by DE GROEN, Geoffrey

27.  Geoffrey de Groen
Divide, Distance 2000
synthetic pigment on hand-made paper
signed, dated and titled verso
11.5 x 16  cm

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