What is Bevan Shaw Driving At?

28 September 2009

What goes through your head when you drive to work on a Tuesday morning? Do you concentrate on your journey and how you'll go about it?

Or, once you slip into autopilot mode, do you berate yourself for not practising your saxophone last night or just gaze at the hills around you?

Bevan Shaw sat down at intersections around Wellington and sketched and painted hills, roads, bridges and road markers for his forthcoming exhibition, What are you driving at? - opening on Friday 9 October at Toi Pōneke Gallery. His intensely colourful, imagined landscapes have both the signs you see on the road as well as images from wandering thoughts embedded, sometimes hidden, among the paintings. All you have to do is take a long look at his paintings to see some of these camouflaged objects.

But Bevan's paintings are not just about driving, journeys and pathways - these ideas make up a small part of his in-depth exploration of colour, ways of seeing and "the patterns that the brain creates from visual information".

Bevan says he thinks about colour and pattern in almost everything he sees, and reading about the psychology of sight and perception has greatly influenced this body of work.

"What I love about paintings as a medium is that not only do they tell you things about how painters see the world, but they also make you think about how differently you see the world," says Bevan.

Throughout his paintings, he has meticulously created series of multicoloured lines and densely patterned landscapes to play with the viewer's eyes.

"This could be a fun exploration of sight for visitors to the gallery," says Bevan. "You can have a go at playing something like 'Where's Wally?' as you make out the hidden symbols and objects behind the patterns, but I hope that it will also help you enjoy thinking about perception and how our sight works."

Bevan grew up in Auckland before moving to Christchurch to do a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury and then moving to Wellington. He has exhibited in group exhibitions throughout the country - this is his first solo show.

What are you driving at? opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 8 October and runs until Friday 30 October at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street.