Local News

Coldstream Gallery presents Heroes and Villains – Matthew Kane

May 14 – June 12

Clarence Valley artist Matthew Kane is exhibiting a series of new paintings at The Coldstream Gallery in Ulmarra from May 14 until the June 12.

The exhibition entitled ‘Heroes and Villains’ is an exploration of how heroes and villains are perceived throughout history and across different cultures. Yesterday’s villains are often today’s heroes.

There are several paintings of Samurai and Geisha’s that are based on a series of black and white glass plate photographs taken around the 1890’s of the last remaining Samurai and Geishas in Japan.

The figures in the paintings are recognisable but have also been abstracted, with some taking on an almost cartoonish simplicity. Some of the black and white photos were hand painted using rather unnatural and garish colours, which Matthew has incorporated in a playful way.

There are also several Australian based paintings from his “Rogues Gallery” series based on black and white glass plate police photographs taken of Sydney criminals from the 1920s and 30s.

These photos were placed on a wall in Sydney police stations and referred to as the “Rogues Gallery”. Some were mug shots, most were wide full body shots often with two or three people. Dates and names were scratched into the glass negative by hand. These were murderer’s, pickpockets, thieves, prostitutes, and drug addicts. Were they all villains? Or were some of them heroes?

The “Rogues Gallery” paintings are painted in black and white and then overlayed with bright colours in a loose and playful manner. The names and dates are painted above the heads of each figure in the same way as the photographs.

Matthew has exhibited at the Grafton Regional Gallery and the Coldstream Gallery.