I instantly recognized Adrian Doyle’s paintings the moment that I walked in the door of Michael Koro Gallery. I had seen Doyle’s paintings before on visits to the studio and as his unique style of landscapes, a post-modern cubism, are instantly recognizable. I didn’t know what was on exhibition at Michael Koro Gallery; I was there because wanted to catch up with Doyle and other guys at Blender Studios to talk with them about the Melbourne Stencil Festival. I’d been trying to come to grips with the Stencil Festival webpage and I needed to get away from the computer.
Doyle has been painting hard, his heavy winter clothes and deconstructed-style jacket hang loosely on him as he shows me around his exhibition New Australian Landscapes. Three of the paintings have just been finished – the paint is still wet on them. The exhibition has yet to open, it will open next week, Friday 17th.
I talked with Doyle about all the techniques that he has used on the paintings. There are digital prints on canvas, stencils and aerosol spray-paint, flat paint, think paint, large globs of paint squeezed out of the tube onto the canvas. And this variety paint techniques are unified by Doyle’s vision of suburban landscapes. A suburban landscape that is itself constructed using a variety of techniques and styles. The fragments of the urban and landscapes fit together, overlap, are dissected by black tarmac roads with white dots of lane marking.
It is hard to depict a city in a painting; you can easily become lost in the detail. Cityscapes have been a challenge to artists since the development of cities. The city is only seen in fragments; it is constantly moving and you travel through the city at speed. It is hard to keep your sense of perspective in the city and the study of perspective became important in Western art at the same time when cities became important.
In Doyle’s paintings the familiar suburban landscapes are made slightly unfamiliar, where are these castles, mountains and Ferris wheels? Combining images with other elements like a diagram or a map – there is no specific point of view to the paintings. It looks like Australian suburbia, the parked cars and mowed lawns of suburbia. The large expanses of bright flat colors at the top of the canvas, the sky, and at the bottom, the land or sea, holds the paintings together. In the largest painting a children’s adventure playground stands isolated in a color field, removed from the rest of the landscape, like a child’s version of the city.
Australian suburbia is an important subject for contemporary Australian art because it is the common experience of most Australian’s who live in the outer suburbs of the vast capital cities. Seen from the air, Melbourne and Sydney are very large cities, the suburban sprawl out to the horizon. It appears limitless and flat, full of endless suburban houses. Adrain Doyle’s New Australian Landscapes depict this reality with cool chaos.