Neon Parc acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung as the Traditional Owners and sovereign custodians of the Country on which we operate. We pay our deepest respects to their Elders past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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Darren Sylvester
‘The Heads of Snowmen’
1 Feb.–24 Feb.

Neon Parc is thrilled to commence 2024 with two solo exhibitions in Brunswick by renowned contemporary artist Darren Sylvester, ‘The Heads of Snowmen’ (1–24 Feb) and ‘The Doom Buggies’ (1 Mar–6 Apr).

The first exhibition, ‘The Heads of Snowmen’, comprises a series of multi-coloured, hand-blown glass heads, embellished with cast bronze features, including carrot noses, button eyes and a cheeky smoke.

At once a beacon of seasonal festivity, the severed Snowman head is both repellent and captivating, both redolent of atavism and the story of what is natural and inevitable; it is created, it melts, it dies. In short the essence of what it means to be human.

Drawn from a readymade palette based on the late American abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly’s painting ‘Spectrum IX’ (2014), the suite of snowman heads are rendered in an opulent shimmering finish, ranging from solid blues and misty greens to bold yellows and reds, reminiscent of earlier ‘palettes’ Sylvester has utilised by fashion houses such as Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent. Severed and decapitated from their glossy bodies, Sylvester’s snowmen heads appear frozen-in-time, underscoring the artists ongoing interest in how death is presented in pop culture.

Seen as an installation of 19 singular works in situ, ‘The Heads of Snowmen’ evokes the evergreen playfulness of a sculpted snowman from life, or as seen in cinema, ominously underpinned by the violence of a head without its body. This very action between recognisable figure and distorted snow is held in time, a grotesque, saccharine deformed glowing orb with crude features and a blank expression. A reminder about how short and precious time is.

Darren Sylvester’s practice works across photography, sculpture, music and installation. In 2019 his work was the subject of a major survey exhibition and monograph at NGV Australia, titled ‘Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something’. Selected recent group exhibitions include ‘Maria Kozic x Darren Sylvester’, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2023); the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: ‘Free/State’, (2022); and ‘The National’ at Carriageworks, NSW (2021). His work is held in most state and regional museums in Australia, in addition to significant private and corporate collections in Australia and internationally.

Exhibitions (5)