For some reason, Australia – Sydney in particular – seems very difficult to be artistically portrayed. It either looks boring and provincial, or as cliched as a Ken Done poster. Only a select few artists seem to be able to step beyond the norm and portray the ‘real’ Australia, rather than someone’s interpretation. Think John Brack and Jeffrey Smart, who both display themes of banality and routine, as well as a certain ‘sense of emergence’ so prevalent in a nation as young as ours.
Kevin Connor is another artist who cuts through the mirage to reveal the true Australia. In Kings Cross at Dawn (above), one can just make out the outline of the Coca-Cola sign, and the ubiquitous grubby footpath. Circular Quay (below) portrays the frenzy that commuters, buskers, tourists and pigeons bring to the area. Scale and proportion are deliberately exaggerated, with grotesque figures contrasting with miniature landmarks. The works are huge, over 3m wide and 2m high, which gives them an expressive authority.
Connor is currently exhibiting at Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney.