What does it mean to be a ‘local’? It is one of many ways we can define ourselves and one that assumes importance if you live in a small town with a steady stream of holidaymakers blowing through every day.
With the summer holidays in full swing, and tourist numbers swelling thousandfold along the coast, an exhibition of new work by Jeff Raglus at Qdos Arts in Lorne explores all things ‘local’. Although originally from Melbourne, the Aireys Inlet artist has lived on the coast for 16 years and says Local seemed an obvious theme to explore – “whether you are local, or not, is a big deal in a small coastal town”.
The idea developed while Raglus was completing a painting for the Aireys Inlet pub early in 2012. The hotel, with stunning views of the rugged Aireys coastline, was very nearly sold off as prime real estate (location, location), but was saved by a consortium of community-minded ‘locals’ who didn’t want to see their ‘local’ go under. Raglus was commissioned to paint a work that encapsulated Aireys Inlet and it got him thinking about different aspects of the town and region.
Jeff Raglus’s large painting hanging in the Aireys Inlet Hotel, View of Aireys from the Pub. Look closely and you can even see the famous pole house on the Great Ocean Road. Click for a larger image to see all the detail.
In his distinct graphic style, Raglus has created approximately thirty paintings, and a few sculptures as well, which explore the ‘local’ theme – from landscapes around the area to hostile surfers claiming their turf, and surreal expeditions in between. Raglus says the exhibition is an examination of the delicate balance between being a local himself but with a memory of being originally from Melbourne.
So does Raglus consider himself a local? “Hmmm… yes and no! I’ve been here a long time… but I definitely know I’m from Melbourne.”
Raglus has been showing at Qdos Arts almost since he started painting but this is his first exhibition at the gallery since 2006. Local opens this Sunday 6 January 2013, 2 pm, at Qdos Arts, Allenvale Rd, Lorne. Ph: 5289 1989 www.qdosarts.com