10 June 2010, Dominion Post
Funny Bones by Mark Amery
‘Around the corner at Mary Newton Gallery co-director Paula Newton presses a button on the back of a white paint dribble covered toy figure on the floor. It then proceeds to waddle across the room, ghostly stick arms outstretched letting out a comic horror theremin warble. With a pile of bones nearby it’s a spooked cartoon caveman figure. Mounted on the wall is a white paint dribble covered cave, complete with red evil eyes flashing inside and a kitsch bunny perched on its roof.
This is the sculpture-cum-painting work of Jarad Bryant in the group show ‘Duck!’ and it’s a beautifully controlled expression of feeling, with humour and poetry replacing the abstract expressionists’ gloomy angst. The individual comes out of their cave and feels uncertain in the world at large, a feeling I’m sure many can identify with at this point in time.
There’s a thoughtful melancholy and wit that reminds me of a Leunig cartoon, a rich visual poetry in the play with objects and paint, with white paint poured over objects and allowed to congeal off them in hanging drips. Lonely white leaves elegantly hang from single white branches, paint drops drooping from their points. A long semicircle of cardboard with a necklace of drips is deliciously titled ‘Toothy Grin’. A white branch hangs down like an upended antler, huge elongated paint drips hanging off it like expensive pendants, or is it a ghostly hand reaching out?’