Robert Mangold

With over four decades of experience as an artist, and having been exhibited widely across America and Europe, Robert Mangold has always produced original and interesting work. His art is carefully considered, with particular attention paid to composition – including his use of shape, line and colour – to create abstract pieces that are usually informed by his interest in structured art.

His latest project, Ring, is no exception to this tradition. The exhibition, being shown at The Pace Gallery in New York for the rest of this month and most of April (and his 13th at the gallery), showcases a series of paintings on a circular shaped canvas, as well as a selection of related works on paper. This showing is the culmination of three years work on this particular project.

Can you elaborate on why you chose to use a circle shape in this collection?

I’ve been working with the circle and circle parts as an image off and on since the mid 60s, and these Ring paintings are a continuation of that. However, the new paintings, for all the enclosure a circle signifies, the central area is empty, a void.

Why have you used two halves of a circle instead of one whole canvas in a circular shape?

The paintings are constructed in two pieces with a split or vertical seam, which has both an aesthetic as well as practical purpose. I work alone in my studio and the way the pieces for this series are made, with a large amount of plywood, it makes them very heavy. If they were in one piece, I wouldn’t have been able to handle them alone.

What role does colour play in your art?

Often a series of works or individual paintings demand certain colour or tonal restrictions, because of the nature of the piece. For instance in the Ring series, if I only used dark colours, all you would see is the ring. An intense colour might also be too much for them.

Any ideas or plans for your next project?

I don’t really know what route my next works will take, if they will be an offshoot of the current paintings or move in a different direction. I feel lucky that there are still some ideas floating around in my head that I want to pursue though!


'Basilicata: Coast to Coast', Time Out, March 3rd-9th 2011

Following four musicians on their emotionally enlightening journey across the Southern Italian region of Basilicata, this low-budget directorial debut by Italian actor Rocco Papaleo, while aesthetically pleasing, packs little punch. The film is sadly spoilt by classic school boy errors – drama at times verges on the ridiculous (pseudo bandits, incestuous threesomes, a mute that finds his voice), characters are poorly developed and, most irritatingly, the crew can often be seen in the reflection of the actor’s sunglasses. Give this one a wide birth.

'Animal Kingdom' 2010

Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Animal Kingdom always promised to be epic.

Australian director David Michôd’s debut feature is a haunting tragedy exposing a world of base survival and fierce family loyalty. Gritty and disturbing, Animal Kingdom tells the story of an estranged grandchild of the Cody family, Joshua or ‘J’, played by newcomer James Frecheville. J is just your average 17-year-old boy: awkward, alienated and confused. After witnessing his mother silently slip away due to a heroin overdose, he is taken in by his grandmother and it’s from this point on that he gets sucked unwillingly into a world of drugs, violence and uncompromising obligation to do things the ‘Cody’ way.

The loud, sombre, classical music that accompanies some of the film’s darkest moments makes the mood ever more intense and electrifying and the camera work provides us with long, unsettling looks from the films chilling characters. Michôd’s direction shows a real determination to force the audience between the bonds that fragment the family. The movie isn’t recommended for the faint hearted, but for anyone else who is interested in seeing Australian cinema at its best and most gripping, ‘Animal Kingdom’ is a must see.

'Flaming Bodies', Rosemary Branch Theatre

In a time that is hitting young people hard, Roar Theatre – a graduate-led production company – is producing shows that are not only ambitious, but are also executed to a high standard. And true to their name, their latest venture is sure to make a big impact in their bright-looking future.

Snoo Wilson’s Flaming Bodies, written in 1979 and ironically also at a time when young people found themselves particularly hard up, delves into the subconscious of Mercedes Mordecai, a sexually confused and recently fired American woman. In her dreams, she battles demons that she is unable to face in her everyday life, most prominently, the troubled relationship she has with her mother.

While the playwright’s narrative is complicated (and unfortunately sometimes unclear) the acting talent – all alumni of Guildhall’s acting school – showcased throughout is of a high calibre. Most strikingly so is Paloma Oakenfold, the play’s lead. Her intense and powerful monologues keep audiences interested and gripped throughout.

An impressive crew also supports the cast; credit must be given to those behind the lights as the production flowed with energy, clarity and confidence. They’ve certainly set the bar high for their next production.