New Plymouth

David Hatcher

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

David Hatcher’s approaches to abstraction have consistently played up the ridiculousness of even the most thoroughgoing attempts to communicate through the “purely” visual. Treating philosophical diagrams and corporate logos with equal acerbity, his high-key wall paintings have dosed these sober figures in such a way as to highlight their endless ambiguity and rootedness in cultural context. The blanket promise of this recent exhibition, “Semantic Bliss”—the title echoing the connotations of unrealistic optimism and probable disappointment in the phrase “wedded bliss”—underscored the banal but messy truth that semantic satiation must always be at least a case of different strokes for different folks. A result of his residency at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 2006, the project deftly engaged with questions of audience and significance in ways specific to the show’s location in Hatcher’s

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