Gavin Hipkins: The Domain
19 February 2018
Close to drowning, an eight-year-old boy gazed up through the water to see a backlit circle. Cast by an inflated tire inner tube, this shape was indelibly burnt into the child’s mind: perhaps like a silhouette etched into the paper of a photogram. At least, this is one of the explanations given for the prevalence of circular forms in Gavin Hipkins’s survey exhibition “The Domain” at the Dowse Art Museum. The presentation and accompanying publication documents 25 years of the artist’s career from 1992 to 2017.
Resisting a chronological layout, Hipkins’s vast photo-media oeuvre is sensitively corralled into two main groupings, separating his abstract-leaning works from other mostly representational projects. There are some welcome exceptions that soften this thematic conceit, including a few B-side gems that provide conceptual missing links between more well-known bodies of work.