Anita Levering’s painting-based research explores issues connected to chance and intentionality, examining the unpredictability of external forces and chance procedures in the creation of abstract paintings. In her practice, Levering investigates the materiality of paint using addition, dissolution, accumulation, and subtraction or un-doing.
This methodology allows freedom but also creates vulnerability, as the artist broaches issues of chance and intentionality to disperse and disrupt predictable patterns, behaviours, and knowledge. This is achieved through semi-controlled experiments with paint on canvas, utilising variables such as gesture and exposure to weather conditions. Levering surrenders her control and allows fate to enact each transformation, reclaiming and intervening as an act of collaboration; navigating the territory between intended and unintended outcomes.
Levering’s process of creation comes from a desire for detachment: a distancing of self that allows focus on natural transitional processes rather than the artist’s own propulsive force to generate form. The limitation of her own control is exercised to foster play and curiosity and to avoid formal intentions, subjective will, or desire for expression. This acceptance of transience references the Japanese wabi-sabi world view; an aesthetic sometimes described as ‘imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’ that traces organic processes and accepts the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.
Levering employs painting as a self-referential medium, with paint usually applied as evenly as possible; minimising gesture and brush marks to avoid subjective action, and giving way to a systematic or rule-based manipulation of the medium. By eliminating artistic agency, the work becomes open to randomness and dissipation, but at the same time it allows for the creation of a universal symbolic and ideographic grammar in painting itself.
The works become the site of traces of an experience, displaying evidence of past autonomous material events. These paintings do not ‘represent’ something but present the thing itself: a document of dialogue with uncontrolled external forces, drawing out new connections in the viewer’s experience.
Born: 1962, Egmond, the Netherlands
Lives: Auckland - Amsterdam
Education: MFA (hons), Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland (2010); MA IMM, Interactive Multi Media, Royal College of Art London (1995) and BFA, Utrecht School of Art (1989)
Awards/Distinctions: Second Runner up Paramount 20th Wallace Art Award (2011); Gordon Harris Art Supply Prize for most meritorious painting (2010);Grant, Creative Communities, Auckland City Council (2006)
Collections: Julian and Josie Robertson Art Collection, USA; Sir James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland; Ports of Napier Art Collection, Napier
Public Exhibitions: Tenants and Tutors, Lake House Arts, Takapuna, 2016, Finalists New Zealand Painting and printmaking Art Award, Hamilton 2015, Neighbourhood, Corban Arts Estate, Auckland (2016/15/14/13); Finalist Estuary Artworks, Uxbridge, Howick, Auckland (2013); AA Monochrome, Corban Arts Estate, Auckland(2012); TEN, TSB bank Wallace Art Centre, Auckland (2012); Finalists20th Wallace Art Awards, The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt (2011); False Flat, Auckland Art week at Highwic - Billiard House, Auckland (2011); Walker and Hall Art Award, Waiheke Community Gallery, Auckland (2011); Finalists 20th Wallace Art Awards, Pah Homestead Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland (2011); Awards and prizes, Project Space Elam, Auckland (2010); Abbreviations, Northart, Auckland (2010); First Light, Northart, Auckland (2010); B-Theory, Massey University, Wellington (2010);Shift/Enter, ProjectSpace Elam, Auckland University (2010); 23rd Waitakere Trust Art Awards, Corban Estate Art Centre, Auckland (2009); Walker and Hall Art Award,Waiheke Community Gallery, Auckland (2009)
Publications/Articles: ‘Masterly works recalls Rodin’ by Terry McNamara, The New Zealand Herald, Oct 11, 2014