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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Trevelyan Clay
‘21st Century’
12 Apr.–11 May.

Neon Parc is excited to present ‘21st Century’, a solo exhibition by Trevelyan Clay at the Brunswick gallery.

For his seventh solo project with Neon Parc, Trevelyan Clay amalgamates the two main streams of his practice, abstract and figurative painting, leaving behind the idea of being a defined genre painter and allowing a more fluid methodology to rise.

Clay goes through long periods where he will construct only abstract paintings which are meditations on colour and composition, and then times where singularly referential or figurative works are his obsession. ‘21st Century’ offers the viewer the opportunity to see the confluence of these two streams, as Clay shifts continually between the abstract and the figurative, his style and technique mutating accordingly.

Clay’s figurative paintings are uncanny renderings of found images such as fragments of video games, celebrities, test patterns, the natural environment. Each of these symbols construct an online or everyday sense of the 21st Century; a casual impermanence which is compelling yet easily discarded. In these images Trevelyan has cropped, edited, colourized and in a way processed the quotidian to become part of a world that is constructed by the artist for his own means: to make pictures and to get to the next picture.

Similarly restless are the tightly wound compositions of the larger abstract works, which oscillate between hardedge and soft, coy and direct, yet each has something of the essence of the painting which came before – shapes are rearranged, colours are heightened and smooth becomes jagged. Figuration, like abstraction in these paintings are seen as interoperable, they are solving their own ‘problems’ in making new puzzles to solve, existing in a pictorial symbiosis.

In ‘Metaphysical banality’, 2024, Clay depicts himself with arms outstretched like a biblical character, in front of Planet Earth, as a herd of wild animals rush towards him. In this painting, part holiday snap and part dreamland, Clay’s paintings extend the distance between the experience of reality and its’ representations.

In ‘Alien & daddy Issues’ 2024, the expanse of the work is comprised of soft edged bricks or tiles in various colours sitting in a tense loose grid with various points of entry; a deep blue pool spills out across two coloured fields. Each shape is familiar; diamonds, squares, half a circle, yet they are seemingly unrelated, unfamiliar to each other on the picture plane. Each layer has a different and assertive read, and connects only provisionally to the other elements; but rather than careening off into unintelligibility, the painting comes together, its disparate voices speaking as one.

The 21st century, so far has been a time of massive political and social change. As Clay borrows this as his exhibition title, we understand that he is interested in the scope of time, of making art now. By merging material from such diverse sources, Clay provides a perspective of the moment whilst acknowledging the past, especially that of his own history as an artist. Clay makes paintings which blur the mundane from the mysterious and observation from conceptualism. This exhibition, which evokes time, history and the current, helps viewers to imagine how the 21st century will continue to unfold.

Exhibitions (6)