Melbourne, 17 Oct 2023 — 4 Nov 2023

35 Derby Street [PO Box 1183], Collingwood 3066

Recent Paintings
- Graeme Drendel

Recent paintings showcases an exceptional series of works, on canvas and on paper, by renowned painter Graeme Drendel. These engaging pictorial vignettes resonate with the mysterious atmosphere for which Drendel is celebrated. Drendel’s compelling works depict figures in isolation as well as in groups, poised within enigmatic scenarios that invite extended contemplation. At times perplexing, the narratives within these works echo poignantly as insightful observations of the complex human experience.

The landscape of Graeme’s childhood, the Mallee region in Victoria, often forms the backdrop to these unfolding narratives. In many of his his recent works, the absence of a figure is keenly felt, and in their place a singular object takes centre stage. These objects; a beautiully embroidered sofa, a rural water tank, or an antique Persian rug resonate with presence, leaving us to ponder their significance as metaphors for a broader reality, or in relationship to figures unseen. Both Drendel’s figurative and non-figurative works emanate a powerful, elusive atmosphere which evokes a uniquely personal response in each viewer.

‘Invariably, when we’re in a crowd of people we’re still very isolated. I do like the sense that these figures are vaguely connected but are very much lost in their own thoughts. The characters don’t know what’s going on themselves half the time – they are just as confused as we are. They are enclosed by the edge of a canvas, yet beyond, the vastness continues. It’s unsettling, why are these people gathered in a group in the middle of nowhere? …There’s a conscious humour in the paintings but also a lot of darkness. Those are the things that keep you interested. These figures have cavorted off into the landscape with each other. It’s that frustrating thing artists say – ‘it’s up to the viewer to interpret.’ – Excerpt from Graeme Drendel interview with Artist Profile, Issue 43, 2018

Graeme Drendel
Victorian born Graeme Drendel’s figurative works are meditations on the isolated individual, often within the …
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