Greg Neville, Virus 1,2 & 3. Lambda prints

These prints are in an exhibition called Faculty at NMIT’s A Space gallery. It’s a staff show so I’m sharing the walls with some very good artists: Geoff Tolchard, John R. Neeson, Caz Guiney, Maurizio Salvati amongst others.

The images were created digitally from photographic “portraits” of small action hero toys.


5 Miles from the Sea part 2

At the opening of 5 Miles from the Sea

The exhibition 5 Miles from the Sea opened on April 19 at Level 17 Artspace which is part of Victoria University. Twelve artists responded to the brief, creating new work in a variety of mediums: painting, photography, drawing and sculpture.

Curator Geoff Tolchard proposed the exhibition in the following terms: “Five Miles from the Sea is a look at the incursion of non-indigenous Australians and their resulting mark on the land. Who lives five miles from the sea? What does it look like though the eyes of twelve diverse artists, some from different parts of the globe, who have indeed made Australia their home? Each of the participating artists will visually interpret, in a medium of their choosing, a reference point that is five miles from the sea, illuminating what is now a multicultural land, a society that is twenty-first century Australia”

The artists have explored issues of Australian history and identity using a specific geographical location as a starting point. Terri Brooks has made a sculpture based on the site of the notorious treaty between John Batman and the local Aborigines in 1835. Caz Guiney has made jewelry from discarded plastic found at a various parks – “waste remains one of our most significant marks on the land.” And Kirsten Perry has explored Dights Falls as “a place where a number of forces converge and divide” – sandstone/lava, saltwater/freshwater, indigenous/introduced.

The website for the exhibition is www.fivemilesfromthesea.com, designed by George Alamidis. It contains images by each artist, as well as an artist statement explaining their approach to the exhibition concept.

5 Miles from the Sea

Greg Neville, 5 Miles no. 2, 2011

This work is in a new group exhibition at Level 17 Artspace until May 17. Curated by Geoff Tolchard, it’s based on the idea that for white settlers and immigrants, penetration of the continent of Australia sort of stopped at about 5 miles from the sea. We are a coast-hugging nation.

The work I’ve put in is based on old family snapshots, some of me at the family home which was … 5 miles from the sea. The snapshots have been manipulated in Photoshop to create a blur through which parts of the original can be glimpsed. Here is my artist’s statement …

Snapshots are potent artefacts, they keep the old, young and the dead, alive. Each family’s snapshots are a record of their movements and growth, their existences and extinctions. Eventually, over generations, the chain of recognition is broken, the memories embedded in them fade away. The people who look out from these slivers of paper become phantasms.

In the first half of the twentieth century, my parents and their families moved around Victoria, to Chiltern and Echuca, to Bendigo and Wonthaggi. Ultimately, they retreated to the coast, settling in Melbourne only a few miles from where their own grandparents had first set foot here.

The snapshots that generated these prints were taken 120 miles from the sea, then 2 miles, and finally, true to the theme of this exhibition, 5 miles from the sea. One of them is of me at the age of ten, another coastal white Australian.