Have you ever strolled through an exhibition and imagined that the paintings might have a voice? At Metropolis Gallery, the unlikely pairing of works by Robert Holcombe and Bruce Earles prompted such a flight of aural fantasy. Holcombe’s abstracts of the natural landscape reverberate with a deep, bass rumble while Earles’ paintings of the urban environment pulsate with a chummy, cheerful chatter.
Robert Holcombe’s works convey the rugged beauty of the Australian landscape, often with an underlying environmental message. His paintings are composed of strong shapes, graphic and defined, in which he distils the landscape to its essential forms. Sinuous lines meander across the canvas; bold shapes are fractured and reconstructed. His minimal colour palette of earthy, outback hues, such as red and yellow ochres, siennas and umbers, are punctuated by solid areas of black and white. These confident compositions flaunt a rich surface texture that Holcombe manipulates with glazes, paint runs, scrapes and scumbles. He employs multiple perspectives, both linear and aerial, to recast the landscape in a highly individualised way.
In a naive style distinctly his own, Bruce Earles’ figurative-based works communicate the hustle and bustle of the urban environment. He paints contemporary life in a dizzying array of brilliant colour. His child-like renderings of figures, often depicted with arms outstretched, are optimistic and playful. The canvas is crammed with people on the street, in the park, along the river and at the beach. Earles is interested in the cultural dimension of the landscape – people interacting with their environment and with each other. The viewer is invited to read the action and compose a narrative from the hive of activity splayed across the scene. These paintings hum to the beat of a thriving metropolis.
Recent paintings of Robert Holcombe and Bruce Earles are on show at Metropolis Gallery until 28 May 2011.
Metropolis Gallery, 64 Ryrie Street, Geelong. Ph: 5221 6505