Local Artist

Lyric Theatre at Merri Creek

Public Description: 

Lyric Theatre at Merri Creek (2003) comes from Siri Hayes’ Lyric Theatre series (2002-2004). This large digital photographic print is of a scene on the Merri Creek trail. Three people are placed near the creek, one watching the creek babbling by as two others near the large branch of a tree appear to be in deep conversation. The Lyric Theatre series examines human relationships and presence in an urban environment and this work, while being reminiscent of a film still or theatrical production, is open to speculation and interpretation. It invites the viewer into the drama from a position of familiarity with the local surrounds of the City of Darebin.

Puppy (2)

Public Description: 

In Puppy (2) Natalie Thomas pays homage to Jeff Koon’s Puppy (1992) as she explores the interaction between humans, pets, science and our experience of nature. Thomas uses tiny shells to cover a plaster spaniel creating a fur effect that references the folk art traditions of seaside town mementos, and a childhood spent growing up in Queensland.

From classical antiquity, the shell or mollusc has been regarded as one of the most amazing achievements of nature, and has frequently been imitated in works of art. The architecture and astonishing ornamentation of shells are used in this work to compose an external covering suggestive of armour on forms; recognisable as a puppy. The use of shells to represent form and fur is a means through which complex human experience is distilled down to simple motifs and ideas; in this instance the experience of walking with a dog on a beach. Research assures us of the significant emotional benefits of pet ownership. Whether the mechanism is touch, exercise, attachment, non-evaluative social support, or some combination of these, the human connection to the non-human animal world is enjoyed by many and merits our close consideration.

Natalie Thomas has a diverse and independent visual and performing arts practice encompassing sculpture assemblage, gardening and photography. She works with multiple themes which are driven by an interest in the media landscape, consumption and popular culture. Thomas has exhibited extensively as an individual and as part of a collaborative project ‘nat&ali’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane) and Art Basel 2010 (Florida, USA). She is the recipient of the William and Winifred Bowness Prize for Photography, Monash Gallery of Art (2008) and a winner of the Darebin Art Show (2013).

Puppy (2) © Natalie Thomas.

A Brief History of Preston

Public Description: 

In A Brief History of Preston, Warren Lane powerfully distills two centuries of European settlement in Preston, a northern suburb of Melbourne located in the City of Darebin. During the colonisation of this area in the 1800s, the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri-willam people were overtaken with farming and various other pastoral activities eventually leading to the industrial and commercial developments of the present day.

An Indigenous man stands erect in the foreground of the painting, staring straight ahead as if looking into the future or perhaps it is the past. Behind him are two potent symbols of “progress” represented by Holstein Friesian dairy cattle and Northland shopping centre (c 2010), looming cavernous and omnipresent over a vast, empty car park temporarily devoid of consumer activity.

As a painter working predominantly in oils, Lane creates intricate and familiar scenes linked by themes of the built environment, politics, human rights and social change. Lane’s astute illustrative portraits and urban landscapes are skilfully structured compositions that employ a high degree of realism laced with an undercurrent of satire. His work is both thought provoking and humorous, inviting the viewer to contemplate the subject matter without pretension or distraction.

A Brief History of Preston © Warren Lane

Black Dog

Public Description: 

In Black Dog, Warren Lane conveys a sense of nostalgia for times past when Edwardian and Art Deco designed buildings were the heart and soul of a thriving neighbourhood High Street. He masterfully observes the elegant decay of derelict and depressed suburban structures as changing facades reflect their faded glory. The black dog appears to be passing his own judgement on their potential demise. Demolition is almost certain with high density housing and modern retail outlets as their future destination.

As a painter working predominantly in oils, Lane creates intricate and familiar scenes linked by themes of the built environment, politics, human rights and social change. Lane’s astute illustrative portraits and urban landscapes are skilfully structured compositions that employ a high degree of realism laced with an undercurrent of satire. His work is both thought provoking and humorous, inviting the viewer to contemplate the subject matter without pretension or distraction.

Black Dog © Warren Lane

Wombat Dreaming

Public Description: 

Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown loves animals and has created a body of work entirely based around them. This large painting shows two big wombats and one smaller one, standing outside their dark burrow. They are surrounded by a border of white clouds in a blue sky. 'Turbo''s work may seem naïve with its simple forms, but there is a great energy and skill in his use of composition, colour and line. He uses bright colours and bold outlines, painting quickly with unmixed acrylic paint. The painting is a public favourite within the City of Darebin, and has often hung in public spaces including Darebin Libraries and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Living rough on the Mildura streets and the Murray River bank, 'Turbo' has said that animals were his only friends. He was adopted by Herb Patten and his wife, Aunty Bunta and moved to Melbourne where he took up boxing and became a keen rapper and breakdancer. Uncle Herb and Aunty Bunta enrolled in a diploma of visual arts at the Bundoora RMIT campus and took 'Turbo' along. There he began to paint. It soon became apparent that he had a talent for expressing on canvas the stories and images from his mind.

'Turbo' holds a Diploma of Arts (Visual Arts) from RMIT Melbourne, which he completed in 2004 and his first solo exhibition at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne, was a sell-out.

Krampus Wreath

Public Description: 

In Krampus Wreath, Paul Compton portrays the infamous folklore figure, Krampus, in the middle of a traditional Christmas wreath. Centred amidst the customary decorations of holly, ivy, bells, balls, trumpets, candy canes and stockings is the hairy half-beast, half-demon complete with horns, long pointed tongue and piercing black eyes. Legend claims at Christmas time Krampus takes the presents of naughty children as punishment for their misdeeds and keeps them for himself.

Compton’s art practice comprises drawing, book and zine making, and creating objects and animations. His work pursues an ongoing interest in vignettes, the uncanny, animism, outsiders and all things Victorian. Compton has shown his work in a number of solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group shows around Melbourne. His work is held in public and private collections in Australia, the UK and USA.

Krampus Wreath © Paul Compton

Summer Storm

Public Description: 

The painting Summer Storm features the Merri Creek. It illustrates this iconic waterway in this area detailing the native vegetation and the intrusion of the power lines and skyscrapers. The painting also makes reference to Giorgione’s painting The Tempest paying tribute to the power of nature as the lightning bolt on the horizon seems to have carved out the creek. The site of this painting is from Yarra Bend Park where NMIT is located. It was all once part of City of Northcote. The new boundaries put all of the open space south of Heidelberg Road into the City of Yarra. So it is very near Darebin's border. The area is easy to walk to from nearby car parks. It shows the view of the city that we have from the City of Darebin.