Ildiko Kovacs is featured in issue 44 of Artist Profile, on the occasion of her survey show The DNA of Colour, now showing at Orange Regional Gallery.
The survey looks at roughly the last ten years of Kovacs’ work (since the publication of a monograph accompanying her survey show in 2011 at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery) and one of the highlights will be the emergence of a new stream of expressive, curvilinear paintings with a strongly graphic character. Sunrise (2018) and Highly Strung (2018), for example, use paint on card with boldly gestural and linear graphite lines worked into a richly textured and layered surface. Yet there is a recursive quality to this new work which links it back to work from earlier years. It is as though the marks then have transmogrified, constantly evolving into new marks, taking on different meanings as they reincarnate.
Henri Matisse once commented that the significance of an artist was to be measured by the number of new signs he has introduced into the language. A sign is an image which embodies the meanings distilled from lived experience. So, it is apt that Kovacs should say of a survey that it is ‘the luxury of bringing together a history of what I’ve gone through and the relationships that have shifted’.
Certainly, the joy of a survey that works is to recognise a recursive character to the work, enabling the viewer to appreciate not so much a progression in an artist’s work, but rather an ever-deepening and enriching exploration of visual experience, the seeds of which were there right from the beginning.