For the past fifteen years, painter Richard Mongiat has been making and
unmaking paintings, taking apart and studying the components like a mechanic
carefully disassembling and reassembling the engine of a car. In his new
series of work Open Sea at Loop, Mongiat has gotten down to
the nuts and bolts of painting.
A collection of small scale panels, dense and compact, these powerful
works convey a sureness and clarity of a painter who has earned command
of every component. The abstract images are on the cusp of representation
bringing to mind building and plumbing supplies that have been roughed into
perfectly engineered spaces. The objects and ground constructed in 70s
Rubbermaid colours are painted in equally dense chunks creating form next
In Tractorlips, a tub shape sits in the centre of the composition
as if in the middle of a bathroom not yet surrounded by walls. In Grinder
the forms suggest a workspace with a desk lamp that has just been jostled
by the vacuuming of the room. The brush strokes vary in immediacy but consistently
structure the area in two and three inch swathes of pigment.
In the current evolution of Mongiats work, gone are the exterior
assemblages of distressed wood panels and found window screens, gone is
the scraping away of paint layers and gone is the identity of some specific
imaginary character. In their stead is a serious examination of what lies
within and behind the generation of a painting.