Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist of the 16th and 17th centuries. He was of great influence to the baroque period in art history and has been said to have put “the oscuro (shadows) into chiascuro”.
Renowned in the art world for his psychological realism, dramatic use of lighting and more broadly for his “disorderly” lifestyle, Caravaggio had a reputation as something of a ruffian that has outlived him, making him the reference point for a group of male artists here.
Local artists Craig Freeborn, Danny Brisbane, Flynn Morris-Clark, James Colin Bellaney and Philip Madill are all either near-graduates, graduates, or masters of fine art respectively, and this exhibition is tied together by their mutual fixation on darker – that is, perceptively sceptical – realist themes. To say “realist” is not to suggest a stylistic trend. The works, with each artist presenting one or two pieces, range from Bellaney’s ostensibly abstract expressionist method, Madill’s punctilious, eerie (quasi-futurist) works in graphite and Freeborn’s thrilling acrylic portrayal of dumpster-diving through to Morris-Clark’s compelling, fleshy oil portraits and Brisbane’s graphic renditions of pop-culture icons.
There is no lack of talent, energy, or originality among these artists and this exhibition reveals only a glimpse of their creative facility.