When we’ve all been confined to our homes, unable to travel, how do we know if this is really where we belong? That is the question Melbourne artist Kevin Chin asks in his latest exhibition of eight large-scale oil paintings, Never Closer, opening at Martin Browne Contemporary in Sydney on 14 October 2021.
The paintings are atmospheric in scale, allowing viewers to wander lost amidst homely yet unworldly scenes, sometimes even upside down. Kevin blends domestic and wild landscapes seamlessly to create disorienting but comforting new realms, that feel both like fond memories and imagined lands.
“With borders intensified locally and globally, there’s so much attention on who’s allowed somewhere, and who isn’t,” said Kevin. “These paintings mix up cultural references to test whether home can be grounded in just a single place – when so many of us connect on all different levels to various parts of the world.”
There are clothes drying outside shanties, Zen rock gardens, deserted tropical marketplaces, and iconic suburban houses, set against sweeping landscapes of forests and lakes. They are testament to the cultural traces we each inhabit in our bodies, through our memories, our experiences, our ancestry, or even just our interests: both individually and through our collective consciousness.
“Kevin’s new paintings are a contemplative take on the current state of things, perfectly capturing the sense of separation unique to this time,” said Gallery Director Martin Browne. “They carry the wistful longing for faraway lands and imagined journeys, that we all feel at times, and especially right now. They embody a dream space that comes with this moment of meditative solitude.”
Kevin Chin is the winner of the Bayside Prize (VIC) and the Albany Prize (WA), having been shortlisted in over 20 painting prizes nationally. He has exhibited widely around Australia, with solo exhibitions also in USA, Japan, and Singapore. He was awarded an Australia Council grant to produce this new exhibition.
Kevin Chin: Never Closer
Martin Browne Contemporary, 15 Hampden Street, Paddington
Exhibition: 14 October – 7 November 2021
Image: Kevin Chin with Deep Roots, 2021, oil on linen, 138 x 199 cm. Below: Away House, 2021, oil on linen, 138 x 199 cm – photo by Kevin Chin