Graham Sorrelle is an artist, poet and cameleer. While the latter vocation might come as a surprise, the lines on Graham’s face tell his story like camel tracks across a rugged desert. Working almost entirely with metaphors the camel looms large in Sorrelle’s oeuvre. In his photo series The Camels, Sorrelle is camouflaged, lost amongst the ships of the desert reflecting an affinity with creatures who experience the struggle for survival in the harshest of environments. Camels may not be endemic to Australia’s arid wilderness and yet they thrive, as if they always belonged.
Man, myth and movement; Graham’s birthright is Sorrellism. The only similarity with surrealism, upon which this suspect pun is based, is its relation to the dark side of dreams and his view of landscape as a state of mind. Not quite abstract, Sorrelle’s painted country is bleak, highlighting feelings of isolation, alienation and dread. It is a world in sienna, literally coloured by the coffee he uses as a versatile medium and metaphor.
Sorrellism follows Graham’s personal journey and captures the essence of places he has been, and seen. Across these experiential landscapes we see a monochromatic image of a toddler, innocent and naïve, imbedded in the vast unknown for which life provides no map. The image of the ‘lost’ child, so ubiquitous in Australian painting, fiction and pop mythology is given a very personal workout in Sorrellism. No stranger to the confessional, Sorrelle’s work is relentlessly self-reflective and reveals his sense of vulnerability and powerlessness – the result of what he sees as an inability to overcome the multifarious obstacles thrown on life’s path.
Adapted from catalogue essay by David Broker
Graham Sorelle, Sorellism, an installation of new works, 2013-14, mixed media, dimensions variable; photography by Brenton McGeachie.
Through the tropes of Batman and Robin, Dean Butters’ portraits examine ideas of protracted adolescence and social disconnection. The series looks at the relationships he develops, and the repeating patterns that they form.
Batman and Robin represents the heroic ideas of childhood and adolescence dashed against feelings of an unfulfilled life, one that lacks the sense of certainty we once dreamed of as children. Like Peter Pan's choice to never grow-up, this work is about being unstuck in a world that has moved on around you.
Pop culture and appropriation are enduring themes throughout Butters’ work. Both are used to examine the influences of fiction on the creation and representation of the self. Fictional characters and appropriated imagery become deconstructive tools, that speak to the universality of such imagery, while also questioning the freedom that they ultimately provide to our identities and self-definition.
Excerpts from catalogue essay by David Broker.
Dean Butters, Without Robin, 2012-13, Lambda print, edition of 10, 80 x 120cm; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.