Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 22. 14th September 1972
Gary Tricker: Artist
Gary Tricker: Artist
Earlier this year Salient's cover was of a print - The Red Horse — by Gary Tricker. This long overdue feature attempts to give a verbal resume of his art.
Gary Tricker likes to talk about himself. His vocabulary is quite limited though for he does not associate with words. Communication has been delayed by a hearing deficiency which he has had since birth and which caused him to be isolated from his school-mates more than is usual.
Gary still wonders how he came to live at Korokoro on a site from where you can see all Wellington harbour. He favours a high view in his art too— a sort of mother earth approach, by a well-separated child — for he likes the semblance of seeing everything that is going on as it happens.
Mr. Tricker (senior) worked on maintaining railways especially the old Rimutaka track. Gary has always had a liking for railway tracks and for the country they pass through. "The tracks and the country are in contrast to each other". They provide him with a theme that fits in with the old analogy of life as a journey— a philosophy that rests easily in his art — "I look forward to my old age because it is something I can't experience yet"
Transferring a sketch onto a copper plate by etching it with acid, pressing out a first print, arranging colours, then pressing out a final print is a long laborious process; a process that Gary enjoys because he is involved in it right from the beginning to the end and can control it all the way. He designed his hand-controlled press, but he considers it no more than an engraving tool. Lately he is transferring effects that he's been experimenting with in his etching onto hardboard in oil painting. The odd shaped bubbles that are 'bush' on many landscape prints result from placing small pieces of resin onto the copper plate before etching out the design wanted on the print. These shapes Gary now recreates in oil paint as bush in his valleys, sweeping up to high horizons, and gushing out as sky phenomena in fountains of abstract growth. There is no control over the small shape the resin introduces, and Gary capitalises on these 'accidental' blobs to give an impression of chance within the overall pattern— "I like to get lost, but not too lost."
Living things dominate the landscape in paintings and in the prints. Profuse vegetation denies the hills [unclear: that] 'lifeless' external appearances, and the air is filled with suspended dreams. Gary Tricker's abstract vision is analytical, he says, but never to the extent of explaining everything. Ultimate answers hold no interest —"That would be boring, really." [unclear: The] adds awkardly. Abstact painting is a way of asking people to kook at their environment; to ask them to think about the way that they see things.
Gary Tricker continues to make prints and his most exciting work is in this area. There was a recent one on the cover of Salient No. 11., called The Red Horse. That print indicated the source of his 'play-time' visual thinking. When asked who he considers influences him, Gary shuffles out a small book of medieval folk architecture — gypsy caravans and rocking horses. He is a friend of Robert Ellis, art lecturer at Auckland University, and their obvious similarity is the 'eye-of-god' approach. "Well, I haven't read all that much or looked at many other arstists work, but why can't I start something from myself. We are the development of hundreds of years. We must adapt and must be able to adapt to consciously adapt."page 15
The recent prints are in the surrealist school. There is no attempt to fuse reality and imagination. They arc composed of apparently unlike objects adrift but in proximity to each other. Each recognisable clock, 'wind-up' man animal or building seems to have little relation to the others in the print. The dream is intelligible but the parts refuse to collude in any immediate way. One must examine the parts first, and identify something of the symbolic nature of each, before reaching any still elusive meaning.
Sitting in his studio underneath his home on a wet Saturday, Gary showed me a large section of his work. It was not difficult to follow the development of his technique. Early prints are of buildings, railways and roads, man changing the land. They change to fairytale figures, buildings gradually lose 'real' dimension; begin to separate from physical law. Gravity, time and space lose their significance in the even composition of a wonderland where humour and sorrow are balanced. If you are sad, you become melancholic, and if you arc laughing you become happy. In this dreamland pain is an illusion. Every object is living intensely, and they are all having a good time individually, and all at once too.
— Gil Petersonpage 16