Cool Hunter Predictions: Gian Manik - Art Collector

Issue 79, January - March 2017

This profile appeared in the "Cool Hunter Predictions" feature, part of the annual special issue "50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2017".

Gian Manik’s emerging career in Perth saw him step away from conventional figurative painting, instead embarking on the rigorous conceptual investigation of an idiosyncratic palette of materials ranging from common hardware supplies to stockings, animal pelts, fake jewels, and his own and others’ bodies. “I didn’t want to paint anymore” he notes, however, the resulting sculptural works frequently ended up informing new canvasses, the artist “...slowly recognising that I was recording the same thing in multiple media, which I thought was unnecessary”. Though something of a diversion therefore, this deliberation between objects and their painted representation has informed his work ever since.

After relocating to Melbourne to undertake his Masters in 2010, Manik’s practice has involved a progressive honing of his interests back to painting, culminating in the impressive series, loosely titled
Foils, that has largely occupied his attention over recent years.

An extended meditation on how paintings ‘mirror’ reality, these works are derived from close-up photographs of shiny or reflective surfaces such as aluminium foil, lamé fabrics, emergency blankets, photographic reflectors and, in a series shown recently at Fort Delta, GOMA’s leather couches. Though rendered photographically, the resulting canvasses “vibrate” (to use Manik’s term) in a liminal space between realism and highly gestural abstraction. Their content is dependent on whatever is reflected in the surface he is photographing at the time, meaning that most of them can also be read as abstracted self-portraits. Beyond this, they are simply stonkingly good oil paintings, good enough indeed to warrant his inclusion in ACCA’s
Painting. More Painting survey in 2016.

2017 will see Manik’s second solo exhibition with Artereal, his representative gallery. He currently has plans to push the
Foils into monumental scale, perhaps moving to a frieze format or painting directly on to the wall, while a forthcoming residency in the Western Australian Pilbara will allow him to capture the reflective surfaces of the region’s iconic rocks and minerals.


Andrew Nichols


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