Although I hadn’t been to Ochre Gallery before I was familiar with many of the artists in it current exhibition: I’m Here: Stencil + Street Inspired Art. I have already reviewed Adrian Doyle’s suburban landscapes (Landscapes @ Michael Koro) and Ralf Kempken’s op-art stencil images (Kempken & Shiels @ Famous When Dead) in early blog entries.
Ochre Gallery is a commercial gallery on the edge of Collingwood’s gallery district. The gallery is in a barn of a building with polished wooden floors and a wood ceiling with exposed beams. An office area and a stock room allow the large space to be divided into a large front gallery and smaller back gallery.
Mimmo Cozzolino is showing a series of photographs of rubbish washed up on the beach. A lot of Australian photographers have done this including Narelle Autio in the “Summer of Us”, 2009. Cozzolino’s photographs do more than just enjoy recording the natural patina that the ocean gives to objects they comment on ocean pollution. Her photographs of crickets (lighters), ducks (toilet ducks bottles) and fish (soya sauce containers) are described as, “Not Endangered”, in their titles, reminding of all the endangered species that are not photographed.
Trevor Flett has a series of oil paintings that use stencils to create the intense variety of textures and text. The stenciled textures form a surface of planes of paint, it is a whole new use for stencils. The paintings appear to appropriate or repeat modern art from futurism to expressionism but in Flett’s own style. Trevor Flett’s painting “Ripples”, of an expressionist image of an Australian aboriginal man with Flett’s stencil style taking over the picture, allows the exhibition to transition to a few traditional aboriginal paintings and sculptures that appear to be Ochre’s gallery’s usual stock.
The exhibition pushes the definition of ‘street inspired art” in new directions, from the technical explorations of Kempken and Flett, to the passing references in Doyle’s paintings and Cozzolino’s photographs. It is an indication of how powerful the term ‘street art” has become.