As Christina Barton said of his work when it was shown at the Adam Art Gallery in 2009, Reuben Paterson’s work exploits a long history of optical abstraction from Māori kowhaiwhai patterns to the paintings of Gordon Walters; from the scintillating surfaces of Bridget Riley and her contemporary reworking in the likes of American painter Philip Taaffe.
The visual form of his work, however, belies the fact that he sees his images as composites of real places invested with the life force of whenua.
Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua is Paterson’s first digital animation. It follows on from the site specific installation he made on the ground at Riccarton House for the 2003 SCAPE Art and Industry Biennial in Christchurch, which honours the intrepid journey taken by Ngai Tahu to collect the precious resource of pounamu in the area of Lake Wakatipu.
For the Tauranga Art Gallery Paterson will present this work on a large scale, projected onto a wall that animates the space in a fluctuation of optical forms that reflect on how perception is a continual process of reconfiguring and re ordering what we see and what can be seen.
(Christina Burton, Adam Art Gallery)
He says of his work: "My imaging of the energies left behind in the land by Māori emerges as undulating rhythms.... Here shades of black and white paradoxically echo the idea that things are almost never black and white".