An exhibition of paintings of trams from both Prague and Melbourne that I had done over two years. They were depiction of trams, originally planned as a pin, to depict the cities of which they were in. I wanted to do a portrait of both places, and experiment with this style of painting I had been developing. I noticed from working from photo - yes, so irresponsibly doing... hell we all do (okay, okay many of us do), I wanted to develop a style that embraced the photo, like Gerhard Richter did decades ago. This cheat of painting from photo, I wanted to acknowledge my source, embrace it, celebrate it, not hide it. Photos today are on screen, I look at a computer screen when I paint. The black, dark areas blend into one another on the computer screen, they form single forms, giant areas of black. After completing my first "Tram on Victoria Street", the happy accident kicked in - the silhouette-like shape of the black trees blending into the darkened buildings. They looked like the silhouetted stencils of graffiti art. I was determined to make this a feature throughout the series. Forcing black shapes in wherever I could. By default, all trees were to be silhouetted from here on in. The vein like tentacles of the branches form great shapes against the white, and they become one with the shadowed shaped in the city and the cables of the trams. The cables of the tram almost seem organic like hanging ivy. The trams are that central icon, which also becomes intertwined with the shadowed shapes.
The strongest were the images of the tram front on - Tram with gum trees and Tram passing Lucerna. The minimalist look of the trams which have shadows/silhouettes around them was a strong appeal. Surprisingly, the grower (the painting that grows on you the more you see it) was Tram on rainy Jindrisska. At first I was pretty indifferent to the painting. However, after seeing others react to it and my own continual revisit of it, I realised there was something great about the choice of colours. The red tram just seems to pop out of the shadows. The contrast of rich colours on the 3D looking objects coming out of the 2D shape of the black. If I take anything from this exhibition, it is next time I revisit this style, the juxtaposition of bright, colourful objects against a flat 2D silhouette spill of darkness will be key.
The exhibition went really well, especially considering I had three weeks to plan, promote and throw it all together (some paintings were still wet on the wall! - such a rush). It was an incredible, under-used building, Gallery Domov, in North Melbourne. I must thank my good friend James Oczko for making this all happen.