One Street from Happiness: local artists explore different styles


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

LOCAL artists Trevor Bly and Patrick Doherty have been working together for more than 10 years to bring together the worlds of graffiti subculture and contemporary art.

Their latest exhibition One Street from Happiness features experimental prints and paintings that explore ideas of locality, identity, spirituality and historical conflict.

“Our attempts to merge distinct practices, styles and approaches led to an examination of home and how identity is informed by place and space,” said Bly, who lives in Craigie.

“My practice considers the idea of local and what that means, while Pat looks more into taboo issues of historical atrocities, objectification and human tragedy.

“I think when you combine two individual practices with their own set of agendas, the opportunity to make really engaging art happens.”

This will be the pair’s first collaborative showing since winning the acquisitive prize at the City of Joondalup’s Invitation Art Award in 2015.

The pieces are a culmination of 10 years’ work using printmaking methods combined with aerosol and mixed media drawing materials such as pencils, acrylic paints and crayons.

Bly said the two-man show would “survey our combined practice, which developed at the former Craigie High School graffiti walls”.

“The Craigie Walls was the most important site for graffiti culture north of the river,” he said. “It offered a place for 15 years to a subculture and defined Perth writing during the 1990s through to early 2000s.

“At the walls is where Patrick and I developed our working relationship.

“The site was a perfect place to practice what we wanted to paint – no local council rules dictating aesthetics, no restrictions on where or when you could go and it was in my neighbourhood.

“As long as you adhered by the unwritten codes within that local painting community, everything was good.

“That place served as a foundation to what myself and Pat paint now but really informs my separate practice which is exploring territorial identity within suburbia.”

Doherty, who grew up in Alexander Heights, said the artists hoped the exhibition would demonstrate the “complexities, opportunities and successes of shared making”.

“Mixing two practices and themes – one based in the foundation of exploring local identity and traditions while the other investigating the gothic qualities of the human condition – has created a unique body of work,” he said.

One Street from Happiness will show at the Fremantle Arts Centre from May 27 to July 16, with an opening night celebration from 6.30pm on May 26.

Following the exhibition, the pair will concentrate on individual projects with Bly expanding his Craigie Tales graffiti documentary and Doherty starting work on his next solo exhibition for next year.

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