Mark Rodda’s latest paintings extend from his recent solo exhibition, Sleeping Giants (Utopian Slumps, 2011). As though the empty stage of an imagined opera, his dramatic landscapes appear as though recently inhabited, pending the return of their absent characters. Geometric imagery inspired by 1980s and 1990s computer games, such as ‘Super Martio 64’, and ‘Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins’, merges with romantic landscape iconography to instil these ‘stages’ with a sense of magic and mystery. The fantastical characters that are imagined as populating Rodda’s opera settings bear a relationship with the narrative-based approach of much Japanese contemporary painting (such as the anime figures of Takashi Murakami), and appear in a number of the artist’s works on paper. Rodda’s characters are not repeated and turned into recognisable icons as with the Superflat painters, however, but rather morph into new and strange iterations with each new work.
Jake Walker’s latest works explore concepts of paintings within paintings, as well as the notion of incidental painting. Works on board are composed of what started as palettes for earlier paintings, generating automatic or subconscious imagery as their subject matter, before eventually being combined with intentional elements to pull the finished work together. Landscape Painting 3 presents Walker’s third new media instalment, or painting on moving imagery, by using abstract shapes in oil layered onto the different surface areas of a floor-based laptop. As with his paintings on found paintings, and his palette paintings in turn, Walker’s painted laptops present an attempt to instil into or discover new meaning in objects haunted by the spectre of obsolescence. The looping nature of the video landscapes he paints over on aged laptops hint at the regenerative and cyclical processes that are at the core of Walker’s painting practice, and which are further hinted at by the recurring trope of the circle that permeates many of his canvases.
Mark Rodda was born in Tasmania and lives and works in Melbourne. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, in 1994 and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) at RMIT, Melbourne in 1999. He has held solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Phantom Lords, Seventh Gallery, Melbourne, 2010; Tidal River, Kings ARI, Melbourne, 2009; True Game Systems (in collaboration with Utopian Slumps and Büro North), Next Wave Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne, 2008; The Inland Sea (with Jake Walker), Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, 2007; Under A Tungsten Star, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2007; Four Short Films, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, 2007; Monsters and Their Treasure, Bus, Melbourne, 2005; Fortress, Westspace, Melbourne, 2005; Evil Twin, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne, 2004; and New Instruction in Lawlessness, TCB art inc., Melbourne, 2004. Selected group exhibitions include The Painting Group, Utopian Slumps, 2010; Notfair, Melbourne, 2010; The Ultimate Time Lapse Megamix, Next Wave Festival, Federation Square, 2010; Everything We Build We Tear Apart, Poimena Gallery, Launceston, 2010; Territorial Pissings, Utopian Slumps, 2010; The Shilo Project, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Warrnambool Art Gallery, SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney and Mildura Arts Centre, 2010; Visage, Firstdraft, Sydney, 2009; Where in the Woods?, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne, 2008; SafARI, China Heights, Sydney and Project Contemporary Art Spaces, Wollongong, 2006; Mini Works, Dep_Art_Ment, Auckland, New Zealand, 2006; and Fin, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, 1999.
Walker studied at the Whitirea Art School, Wellington in 1989 and Otago School of Fine Art, Dunedin in 1991. He lived and worked in the UK, USA and Germany from 1996 to 2000. Solo exhibitions include Have a Go, Gallery 9, Sydney, 2009; New Past Painting Group, James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney, 2007; The Inland Sea (with Mark Rodda), Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, 2007; and Jake Walker, Neut Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 2003. Selected group exhibitions include Reason and Rhyme, Gertrude Contemporary, 2011; The Painting Group, Utopian Slumps, 2010; Points of View, Torlano Galleries, 2010; Territorial Pissings, Utopian Slumps, 2010; I’m worse at what I do best, curated by Tom Polo, Parramatta Artist Studios, New South Wales, 2009; Visage, Firstdraft, Sydney, 2009; Texticles, curated by Rob McHaffie, TCB art inc., Melbourne, 2009; and SafARI, Sydney, 2006. Walker was winner of the Arkley Award in 2010, and finalist in the Blake Prize in 2009, the Fishers Ghost Art Prize in 2006 and Mosman Art Prize in 2006. He is a current Gertrude Contemporary studio artist.