Stephen Bambury

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1951

Red house

  • Gift of the artist, 2011
  • Screenprint
  • 504 x 404mm
  • 2013/023
  • 2008

Stephen Bambury has said of the titles he gives his works: “I like to put down a scent that can be followed.” In this case, that trail leads us towards the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935), who in 1932 painted a work he named Red House. Malevich’s suprematism – geometric forms painted in a limited palette to represent the supremacy of ‘pure feeling’ – sought to reset the ‘givens’ of painting and perception, recognising how the relationship between two-dimensional objects on a pictorial plane could suggest movement, volume and symbolic meaning. On longer looking, the initial flatness of Bambury’s simplified house motif – which recurs frequently throughout his practice – gives way to a sense of perspectival depth, opening the image up to considerations of shelter and containment.

(Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)