Icons, 2014 Exhibition Catalogue
15 March 2014


March 6–23, 2014
3 Contemporary Art Space
Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

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Icons is a series of small oil on linen portraits, executed in a traditional academic realist fashion. The subjects are not religious figures, but almost-modern icons of worship: rock stars from the 60s to the 90s. In the current millennium, this no-longer-so-recent collection of rock figures still command worship by fans, and influence current musicians. The subjects achieve this despite their failings (and sometimes
because of them). They have become, and remain, canonical figures.

The subjects are musicians from the canon of 60s counter-culture (Keith Richards, Neil Young), heavy metal (Ozzy Osbourne), the early CBCG’s scene (Patti Smith, Lou Reed), hardcore punk (Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, Henry Rollins of Black Flag), and grunge (Kurt Cobain). All genres that typically were skeptical of the media at best, and scathing at worst.

The icons on display chose a career prominent in the public spotlight and walked the promotional tightrope at times with aplomb, but more often, with no support net below. Frequently losing their words mid-interview (or speaking unintelligible gibberish), the image of their expression spoke their thousand words for them.

Following on from the exhibition Duets at Rubicon ARI in 2013, the series examines the visual communication that can be more clearly read in televised interviews than the words spoken. The imagery is drawn from the now vast, museum-like archive of YouTube that ironically preserves what was designed to be a temporary medium.