Simon Ingram

Spirit Level Painting

1996
enamel on plywood with Stabila spirit level
400mm x 392mm

Provenance

Private Collection, Auckland.

Essay

Simon Ingram’s Instrumental (Spirit Level Paintings, Paintings with Rules)series includes a number of works produced by extrapolating the properties of industrially p...

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Estimate $2,500 - $3,500
Achieved $3,224.38

Simon Ingram

Spirit Level Painting

1996

enamel on plywood with Stabila spirit level

400mm x 392mm

Auction N˚3

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500

Achieved $3,224.38

Footnotes
  1. Ingram, Simon., Smith, Allan. Simon Ingram: Towards a Painting That Thinks. Art School Press, School of Visual Art, Manukau Institute of Technology, 2004, 2.
  2. Ibid., 5.
  3. Ibid.

Spirit Level Painting

by Andrew Clark

Simon Ingram’s Instrumental (Spirit Level Paintings, Paintings with Rules)series includes a number of works produced by extrapolating the properties of industrially produced objects: in the case of the present work, a yellow Stabila spirit level. Although this work gestures towards the minimalist tradition exemplified by artists such as Yves Klein, Barnett Newman and, of course, ultimately to Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square (1915), Alan Smith notes that Ingram’s practice draws widely on the modernist canon, noting his affinity to Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.¹ Rather than severe minimalism, Ingram aspires towards paintings which preserve some their status as objects, incorporating materials which speak to their existence as the result of a process.

Ingram speaks of wanting to escape from the “metaphysics of presence” which characterises some New Zealand abstractions.² He is eager to distance his works from the “theological haze that abstraction can find itself shrouded in,” preferring the “conceptual and implicitly Marxist implications of involvement with materiality” in which he became interested while living in Australia in the ‘90s.³ Rather than the sense of the sublime which characterises a Mark Rothko, Ingram’s approach to abstraction emphasises the materials themselves and, more importantly, the processes and mechanisms by which the final result is arrived at.