Alan Ibell: Exterior (with Buried Keepsakes)

Alan Ibell’s diorama-like installation in Te Uru’s window space, Exterior (with Buried Keepsakes) takes its inspiration from an earlier painting by the artist, House at Night (2020). Recognisable elements of Ibell’s oeuvre such as the skewed brick walls and enclosed house are no longer confined within the canvas, yet their three-dimensional manifestation is influenced by his habitual painterly approach. The shift to a three-dimensional iteration of familiar motifs represents an extension of his practice, allowing Ibell to expand further upon themes that regularly underpin his work: enclosure, isolation, the tussle between interior versus exterior.

Where Ibell’s paintings deploy brushwork and abstract figuration to gesture at mysteries that lie beneath the surface, in Exterior (with Buried Keepsakes) these mysteries – often connected to the construction of the public or private self – become physically manifest as objects. A cancelled passport; timber offcuts from his grandfather’s house; meteorites collected from a mountain in Assisi, Italy: such items are now literally ‘housed’ within the work. Crucially, they remain unseen by the viewer, just as the experiences and memories that combine to construct a self are inaccessible to the outside observer.

09 December - 28 April 2024

Photos by Sam Hartnett