Metro Gallery is pleased to present Consequence, an exhibition of recent paintings by Melbourne-based artist Tom Gerrard.
The recent body of work focuses on the daily minutia of anonymous characters as they go about their daily lives.
The sheer amount of detail contained within the paintings gives a nod to Tom’s engagement with Street Art. The ubiquitous hypermasculine heads, balding yet heavily moustachioed, would be familiar to the viewers (either spray-painted, stencilled, or as stickers) from Melbourne’s laneways and train stations, as well as from a recent installation at the celebrated Attica restaurant, in Ripponlea. In a similar vein, most of the objects within the paintings are silhouetted in black, applied with confidence directly from a spray can or with an air brush.
However, it is the artist’s ode to suburbia which differentiates this exhibition from earlier bodies of work. The ubiquitous faces that line suburban laneways are now interspersed with the equally ubiquitous suburban detritus: abandoned couches, broken window frames, faded umbrellas, lengths of rope, coils of wire, and proliferation of pot plants, discarded by the previous owners and reclaimed by nature.
As if illustrating the idiom ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, Gerrard documents the journey of these objects from laneways and nature strips into people’s living rooms, where, cleaned, polished—and watered—the ‘reclaimed’ pieces of furniture, interior décor, and greenery are given another lease of life.
The paintings echo Tom’s own journey from an internationally acclaimed street artist to the artist who is increasingly embraced by the institutional and private collectors, and whose once ephemeral artworks are making their way, from streets and laneways, into homes, offices, and galleries.
Consequence is remarkable for Tom’s renewed focus on the intersection between Street Art and Pop Art, the art movement that also strove to elevate the everyday. The motif of paintings within paintings is a nod to the established Old Master tradition of placing a narrative within a narrative. The visible evidence of mark-making (spills, splatters, drips, and pooled paint, applied from an aerosol can or an airbrush), as well as Gerrard’s focus on suburbia, trace a direct lineage from Howard Arkley, another artist who iconised Melburnian suburbia through the medium of vibrantly-coloured spray paints.
Tom Gerrard (b. 1977) has held numerous exhibitions from the mid-2000s in Melbourne, Los Angeles, Barcelona, and Tokyo; a survey exhibition of his works was held at the Benalla Art Gallery in 2018. He is an internationally renowned muralist, whose site-specific works grace buildings throughout Australia as well London, Berlin, Quito, and Rio de Janeiro. Gerrard’s works have been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence (France), as well as notable corporate and private collections in Australia and abroad.
Tom Gerrard’s art career started in the mid-90s where his art could be found on the streets of Melbourne. These days, he’s globally known for painting simplified characters, architecture and nature using a minimal colour palette. The characters and elements that make up his paintings have been inspired by people he’s seen and places he’s been.
Tom’s gallery work is an evolution of style and technique that was learned painting on the streets. He has fused this style with acrylic paints,water colours and any other materials that he can find in his studio.
After eight years of travelling around the world, Tom returned to Melbourne in 2016. Since then he has placed his artistic focus exclusively on Australian life, suburban culture and his natural surroundings. He has utilized his thirteen years working as a graphic designer, and as a result his art has a graphical look as he works with a minimal colour palette and strips back his subjects to simple shape and line work.
Tom has settled back into Melbourne life where he paints murals at large art festivals across the country, exhibits in prestigious galleries such as Bromley & Co and Benalla Art Gallery and collaborates with some of the country’s biggest names in contemporary art.