Dynamo Hum showcases a selection of paintings completed by Denys Watkins between 2004 and 2016. A long serving teacher of thirty one years at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2011 he left to pursue a full-time studio art practice. Watkins has observed all manner of cultural artifacts in an artistic career now spanning five decades. Images, objects, textures, sounds and shapes, anything deemed relevant and necessary to a particular composition or series has been fair game within his visual milieu. This virtual encyclopaedia continues to inform Watkins’ painting practice.
One of Watkins’ signature touches is his deftness with art work naming. His paintings feature carefully chosen, recondite titles; undoubtedly a good way of cataloguing meaningful objects without resorting to the sterility of numbers. Viewed en masse, the effect is like a jukebox of carefully curated 45s, each work and title a modernist tone poem reflecting the fascinations and recalled moments of an individual with a voracious appetite for culture.
The metaphor of music is especially relevant for Watkins; a keen guitarist and avid music fan. Recent years have seen him combining nature and abstraction. Reflecting his humanism and concerns for the natural world, the success of these paintings relies on carefully working out the corybantic visual stimuli residing within each composition until a fine level of balance is achieved.
This exhibition has been generously supported by