We are pleased to support this project, Gallery There’s Marielle Soni has curated a dynamic exhibition of Australian figurative painter Cameron Hayes’ politically-charged works at the 2018 Melbourne Art Fair. These densely layered, monumental paintings reveal recurring themes within the artist’s oeuvre drawn from unabashed, uncomfortable observations of Australian identities; searches for a collective and an individual self; stories of fear, violence, lies, absurdity, acid humour, with hidden flickers of empathy.
A key piece painted in 2009 What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists uses the 2007 federal election as its backdrop. Some members of the Australian Liberal party conducted a pamphlet drop within the marginal seat of Lindsay – a predominantly white, working class community. They falsified an organisation called the ‘Islamic Australia Federation’ and in the pamphlets thanked the Labour party for seeking clemency for terrorists, for building mosques in Lindsay and for supporting the Bali bombers. Hayes’ monumental painting tells the story of the effect the resulting baseless fear had on Muslim girls at the local school and upon the Australian psyche.
Hayes’ major work Terrorist in a cake shop (2018) will be exhibited alongside recent works created specifically for the exhibition, as well as the completed works: Even dung beetles eventually realise that there will be plenty of dung where they finish rolling their dung (2014 – 2018), Mathias Ulungura captures Hajime Toyashima – 19th February 1942 (2006) and The massacre atYoung before it was calledYoung (2017).
The artist states:
“Australia being the lucky country means that everything we have is un-earned and so un-owned. Australians grew up fearing that at some point their luck would run out and this was/is represented in ‘AUSTRALIA:’ by the invasion of the real world, the world of starvation, the world of wars, the world of desperate need, the world of refugees.”
Hayes’ first major solo exhibition was held in 2000 by Australian Galleries, Melbourne, of which Peter Timms wrote in The Age:
“His mind is on social history, which he satirizes with a vengeance. Hayes Is a Hogarth or a Daumier for the 21st century. At the level of style and technique his painting is all control…The eye scans the surface, taking in each bizarre anecdote, and taking delight in their bitter humour.” The artist’s 2011 exhibition in New York was recommended by Village Voice’s Robert Shuster as ‘best in show’ – describing his work as “rich panoramas of satiric dystopian visions, imaginative allegories reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch”.
Cameron Hayes has been a finalist numerous times in The Blake Prize, Moët and Chandon fellowship and touring exhibition 1994 and 1995, and the John Sulman Art Prize in 1995, 1998, 2014 and 2015.
Curated by Marielle Soni
Melbourne Art Fair
Southbank Arts Precinct
2 – 5 August 2018
Cameron Hayes Media Release
View on Australian Galleries Website