Disappointing Vanilla exhibition explores home and identity

Trevor Bly explores what it means to be local in his art.
Picture: Martin Kennealey d467694
Trevor Bly explores what it means to be local in his art. Picture: Martin Kennealey d467694

DISAPPOINTING Vanilla is the latest instalment of experimental prints, drawings and paintings by collaborative artists Trevor Bly and Patrick Doherty exploring ideas of localism, conflict, myth-making and the human condition.

Bly, of Craigie, and Doherty, of East Perth, have been working together for more than 10 years, bringing together their former backgrounds in graffiti and contemporary art, which has led to an examination of home and how identity is informed by place and space.

Disappointing Vanilla offers a continued investigation of combined signifiers referencing the Perth suburban experience, the ‘unhomely’ nature of disconnect and scribbles from the taboo,” Bly said.

This will be the pair’s first collaborative showing since their 2017 exhibition One Street from Happiness at the Fremantle Art Centre that focussed on urban rituals, the eternal village and gothic sensibility.

This time, the artists hope their exhibition will demonstrate the complexities of solo and shared making with Bly’s investigation loosely based on the suburban experience of “unhoming”.

Hey Mum have you seen my cape for Craigie Day silkscreen by Trevor Bly

“Mixing two practices and themes – one based in the foundation of exploring local identity and the other examining the anxieties of the human condition – has created a unique body of work,” Bly said.

“The unhomely conflict really put a strain on our relationship, which combined with Patrick’s mental health issues made the making process tough.

“When an individual’s priorities and motivations are to the distractions of life – alcohol, cigarettes, women and basketball – it proves a challenge to stay focused.”

Doherty added that Bly “sometimes makes me do things I don’t want to do”.

White Magic two colour silkscreen and mixed media by Trevor Bly and Patrick Doherty

“He gets up in the morning, he organises the show and then he helps kids,” he said.

“I wish I could do stuff like that but my depression doesn’t help me.

“Instead I like drinking, socialising and drawing in my bed but I need money so I do this stuff.”

Disappointing Vanilla will show at the ShopFront Gallery, North Metro Tafe, Northbridge.

Opening night will be from 6pm on October 11, with daily viewings from 10am to 4pm, October 12 to 20.