Orange Wrappers - August 2013

Artist - Paul Hoban & Scott Pyle

Author - Prena Ashok


Paul Hoban and Scott Pyle at FELTspace, August 8-24, 2013

Paul Hoban and Scott Pyle have created canvases that exude energy, with splashes of dynamic colour, irregular shapes, and tactile textures. These elements draw you into the exhibition, but what compels you to stay are the fascinating characters and stories spattered across the walls.

At first glance bits and pieces from Berlin’s East Side Gallery appear to have been transported to FELTspace, but soon the voyeur realises that there is a strong theme— and style—running through the canvases creating a cohesive collection of contemporary art. This exhibition, an insight into the minds of these South Australian artists, is suggestive of line work from animation cells backed by contemporary dynamic gradients and blocks of colour.

There is a strong Power Rangers theme that is complemented by colours and textures of street art. Pyle’s talent for composition and love of surf culture is complimented by Hoban who intuitively fills in the negative space with shapes and colour that bring action and movement to the stories. The acrylic and paint pen on canvas is bold and those who love colour, texture and strong line work will revel in Orange Wrappers.

At the exhibition opening Hoban patiently goes through the details of their collaborative pieces and fills in the gaps, so to speak. He has a healthy respect for colour and admits his own surprise and admiration for the happy mistakes and unexpected details in some of the canvases. Pyle is modest, but passionate about the core themes in his work—namely, the Power Rangers and surfer dudes—and is happy to talk at length about these topics. He is quick to correct you on these subjects, but prefers his art to communicate his enthusiasm and interpretations.

Each of these collaborative pieces reflects the two artists involved, through their subjects and movement. Where one focuses on the characters and line work, the other fills in the colours and patterns. This action is also present in the exhibition title, Orange Wrappers, an anagram of Power Rangers, constructed by Hoban.

One could easily stare at pieces such as Big Mash and Mash with Explosions for hours, discovering new characters and patterns that interlock with each other; there’s a different story scribed into these pieces at every perspective. The effects of the paintskin technique that Hoban and Pyle employ for practical and conceptual purposes are subtle but evident, adding to the character and magic of the work. Stone Breakers is a particularly special piece that reflects Hoban and Pyle’s relationship—it displays their personalities and relationship as artists and collaborators.

In the back room Pyle exhibits various robotic, alienesque characters that, despite the simple line work on paper, are quirky and friendly. Many of these characters are surfer dudes and too cool for school. The majority of these pieces are canvas and paper cut outs interspersed with a few papier-mache sharks and soft sculptures.

It is difficult for artists to let go of their work; letting someone else take over something that has been crafted over days, weeks, maybe even months, but thiscollaboration has come together in a beautiful way. Every canvas is a unique reflection of two artistic styles working in harmony. Hoban describes the time withPyle as "fun". They work sometimes together in a studio and other times exchange unfinished work for the other to engage with alone.

The success of Hoban and Pyle's collaboration is reflected in the turnout on opening night. It was exhilarating to see the assortment of artists, supporters and enthusiasts thronged and the growing appreciation for this oeuvre. This particularly exhibition is extraordinary as it combines two different artistic styles and backgrounds into a unique journey and partnership.