Walter Pater said, “all art constantly aspires to the condition of music”. In these pictures, worked sometimes over many years, themes and movements that inhabit the layers, and spread across the surface, evoke symphonic structure: there are notes and swathes, marks and smudges, long looping lines, and dense patterning; like a play- off between instruments. But there are also the substructures: big movements that articulate the whole of the picture and allow the smaller syncopations somewhere to rest.
Wayne Eager does not rely on the speed of the action, or the complex built relationship with subject, to nail the pictures; they instead move slowly, organically towards completion. It might be the addition of a slightly different tone that picks up part of the structure; a seemingly ‘little’ change that pitches the picture that much higher, clearer, sweeter. Or the cancelling out of some surface incident, that allows the substructure to sit comfortably with the higher notes/patterns that flit across the surface sometimes as beats, sometimes as tonal harmony, sometimes as drone mood. These are dense pictures that come at the viewer slowly and can take time to see. Tony Mighell, September 2017
Wayne Eager was a founding member of Melbourne’s Roar Studios in 1982. Since then he has been involved in establishing the Ikuntji Women’s centre at Haasts Bluff and worked as a field officer for Papunya Tula Artists. He continues to paint full time and exhibits regularly throughout Australia. His work is represented in major public collections including Artbank; National Gallery of Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Shepparton Art Gallery and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.