"I first saw Elliot Collins' work in 2007 at his AUT (Auckland) Masters Graduation. His installation filled the largest gallery; a visual brainstorm of gorgeously coloured painting, delicate sculpture, and text-based work almost entirely covering the walls, floor and ceiling of the space. It was a risky approach, and in less capable hands would have seemed chaotic, but the show was impressive both for the quality of the individual works and the assured way with which disparate pieces had been curated by the artist into a cohesive whole.
Elliot Collins' unique method of 'cutting' text into thickly painted surfaces makes the material feel luscious, rich and tactile. It is the poetry of his language, however, that sets him apart from others of his generation. In a critique of Collins' 14m wall installation, recently commissioned by City Gallery Wellington, Mark Amery writes: "Collins' text lives in the cryptic spaces between personal anecdote, literary flourish, art historical quotation and public address ... [while] ... underneath the text swatches of paint swarm up as a school of fish, like a letting-go of modernism and all that is behind us, sent off into the ether by the force of the spinning of the globe". (i)
Here I give thanks for giving everything up and losing nothing. At least that's how I'd like it to go.
This painting has decided to live vicariously through others from now on.
This painting is attempting to speak to us in its peculiar dislocated language of the important themes of our lives.
A love story; nothing else will do.
Here I give thanks to a candle in a dark room.
In artworks like these the viewer has a sense of the artist making himself vulnerable. The paintings are brave, beautifully considered and thought-provoking, with a quality of romantic melancholy and knowing innocence that hits the heart with a flash of recognition. In a world preoccupied with irony and cynicism Collins' paintings are loaded with hope and humanity and possibility. They're probably unfashionable - but that doesn't seem to be doing his career any harm at all."