Looking at Art - April

<strong>Ghostpatrol</strong><br/> Born Hobart, Tasmania; resides and works in Melbourne, Victoria<br/><i>tadaima swan </i>2012<br/>Acrylic and oil pastel on linen<br/>Image courtesy the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide

Ghostpatrol

Working under a pseudonym, Ghostpatrol is a Tasmanian-born self-taught artist who rose to quiet prominence around 2007 by covertly installing hand-drawn graffiti paste-ups in the nooks and crannies of Melbourne streets and alley ways. Today internationally renowned, he began working as an artist following dissatisfaction with his initial studies in Information Technology. As a young student, he developed a strong interest in drawing and sketching: a cathartic pastime that he transformed into a professional pursuit.

Ghostpatrol shares a creative partnership with fellow street artist Miso (Stanislava Pinchuk). They work independently on their own projects but also draw on each other for creative advice and inspiration, frequently collaborating on joint projects. In 2009, Ghostpatrol and Miso were featured in an ABC TV Artscape documentary that explored their work in situ and advocated a positive case for 'street art'.

Positioning his work in public spaces such as alleys and old buildings, Ghostpatrol highlights themes of impermanence and the fragility of the individual pitched against the ravages of time. On one level, his works are in the tradition of vanitas pictures: a sobering reminder of decay and death, yet they remain bereft of cynicism, tempered by a gentle lyricism.

Ghostpatrol’s semi-anonymity allows him freedom and fluidity to explore various themes and contemporary issues. The small illustrated humans he draws explore themes of existentialism, space and the cosmos, science, mythology and folklore. They speak of the spiritual symbiosis between human beings, fauna and flora; a connection that humans beings have long forgotten or abandoned.

Ghostpatrol’s acrylic and oil pastel art work tadaima swan expresses the spiritual connection between man and animal through Japanese folklore and religion. It depicts a figure clothed in a sky-blue robe, wearing a tall white hat, perhaps resembling an origami swan. The Japanese salutation ‘tadaima’ means ‘I’m back’ or ‘I’m home’, perhaps alluding to the swan’s migratory nature. The figure is painted floating with its arms and legs lifting off and is decorated with a constellation composed of confetti colours, captured in a moment of bliss.

tadaima swan is featured in Made to last: the conservation of art, a NETS Victoria touring exhibition showing at the CDU Art Gallery from 10 April until 27 June 2014. Curated by Sherryn Vardy, the exhibition explores the technical aspects of conservation, in particular issues that conservators face when dealing with contemporary works created with materials that are delicate, perishable and experimental. When interviewed about his involvement in the exhibition, Ghostpatrol commented:

‘The discussion with curator Sherryn Vardy allowed me to reconsider the type of work I make for galleries. It was a great excuse to work with different materials, and create some work that would change over time in the gallery. I’ve since made some larger bodies of work that combine small carvings, found objects and plants to form small ‘shrine’ installations. I like the contrast from spending time and effort to create watercolours and paintings that are archival, to making work that changes and shifts with the arrangement and the plants. It’s great to have a curator plant an idea that triggers me to head off in a new direction.’

Ghostpatrol is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery in Adelaide. His work is held in the National Gallery of Australia and Artbank.

Made to last: the conservation of art is a NETS Victoria exhibition in partnership with the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne and supported by Latrobe Regional Gallery.

See: cdu.edu.au/artgallery

Eileen Lim, Assistant Curator
Charles Darwin University Art Collection & Art Gallery
28 March 2014

SOURCES
W: http://david-booth.com/
Ghostpatrol website, Biography and CV

W: The Design Files website, Interview – Ghostpatrol,17 September 2009

W: http://thedesignfiles.net/2013/01/ghostpatrol-made-to-last/
The Design Files website, Ghostpatrol – Made to last, 10 January 2013

Design Federation website, Interview with Ghostpatrol, by Klaus Kinski, November 1 2007

W: NETS Victoria website, Made to last: the conservation of art

W: http://www.abccommercial.com/librarysales/program/artscape-paper-cuts-art-ghostpatrol-and-miso
ABC TV website, Artscape – Papercuts: The Art of Ghostpatrol and Miso, produced and aired February 2009

W: http://m-i-s-o.com/
Miso (Stanislava Pinchuk) website

CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery


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