Ward makes use of discovered objects and repurposed objects (instruments, paint brush) to strengthen the double-take character seen in lots of of those works. Titles apparently present cues for every of the works however their usually private nature obfuscates quite than assists which means. Every object holds its personal persona and it’s this that provides them their attraction.
The wall items that represent the remainder of the exhibition embody quite a lot of stylistic streams. The bulk proceed the character that provides allure to the “toys”. These (e.g. Cat’s 53, 55, 56, 63, 64, 65) have a visually smooth palette with an attention-grabbing floor texture. Motifs are outlined in black and “colored in” in a way whose simplicity belies a classy method to the processes utilized by the artist. This outlining mannequin can also be seen quite a lot of oils (e.g. Cat’s 43, 44, 46, 47). Colors are blocked into the abstracted naïve types of figures and different objects in a primitivistic fashion that echoes the directness of early 20th-Century Expressionism, however a directness softened by the subtlety of the artist’s palette.
The “toy”-based works (each two- and three-dimensional) clearly provide a familial connectedness to the exhibition. That is nevertheless subverted by the inclusion of quite a lot of works whose relationship to the above seems to be that they had been made by the identical artist.
General visible unity doesn’t appear to matter to Ward and the exhibition’s pictorial and thematic thrust is diluted quite than intensified by works equivalent to The Couple (Cat. 72) and The Honorable Peter Dutton in Drag (Cat. 49). These are in themselves advantageous however sit aesthetically exterior the Toy Field works. Others on this class embody Bombay Highway Braidwood (Cat. 48) whose pallid reflection of the long-lasting works of Rosalie Gascoigne doesn’t serve Ward nicely.
A gaggle of enormous linocuts (Cat’s 59, 62, 67) based mostly on Guerella [sic] Bay demonstrates each technical acumen and aesthetic finesse however bears no thematic affinity with the vast majority of the exhibition. One other linocut – Run for Your Life (Cat. 33) – is a very efficient work that capitalises on the graphic qualities of a black-and-white palette and does maintain stylistic and thematic affinities with a lot of the remainder of the exhibition, and on this makes inclusive sense.
Toy Field is populated with a lot good work buts its power as an exhibition is undermined by perplexing inclusions that mark it as visually complicated.