Sometimes it’s all about the timing…
When we approached ‘Rone’ about an interview some weeks ago now we actually had no idea that at that precise moment he was in a maelstrom of creativity applying the finishing touches to his first solo show in two years.
Suffice to say then that we deferred the chat but were very excited to have the opportunity to attend an exclusive ‘Preview’ event of his latest suite of works collectively entitled – Empty.
Empty. A solo exhibition by Rone
Empty is in many ways an odd amalgam.
Rone is renowned for his beautiful depictions of the female form. Most specifically his ‘Jane Doe’ faces. Wondrous captures of nuanced feminine features full of light, shade and coy beauty. Somewhat ironically these tender portrayals are often on the side of buildings six or more stories high!
In one sense his murals can be epic in scale but instead of being over-the-top there is always constraint. Even when his canvas is 15 metres high. Now that’s a skill!
For this exhibition however Rone is placing his trademark beauties amidst a backdrop of decay and detritus. An interesting juxtaposition and one that pleasingly works very well.
A Melbourne boy made good.
Rone has chosen to return to his old stomping ground of Melbourne for Empty. Moreover not just anywhere but right in the heart of the ‘inner north’ – Fitzroy. These side-streets and laneways, and those of the adjoined suburbs of Collingwood and Brunswick, have been the urban canvas for so many of his magnificent murals over the years. It seems an apt locality for a reunion.
The venue he has chosen is the soon-to-be-demolished former Star Lyric Theatre building in Fitzroy’s Johnston Street. The theme of the exhibition is ‘hidden beauty’. As Rone himself explains…
“I have this strange attraction to forgotten spaces. I tend to see something beautiful in things that are derelict, dilapidated, forgotten. I guess you could say I find beauty in neglect.”
This show also sees the artist exhibiting many of his own photographic interpretations of his own murals for the first time in a series of ‘interrelated photographs.’
What’s old is new.
For an artist renounced and synonymous these days with mega murals located in destinations as diverse as Miami and Port Vila returning to smaller canvasses has felt like a home coming.
“I’ve done quite a few large public works in recent years, so it was nice to return to some smaller-scale work again,” says Rone. “The process really took me back to my beginnings – working late at night, going undercover, having to work quickly, and the excitement that comes with that”
And that excitement is palpable betwixt the walls of Star Lyric Theatre.
It is a pleasure to view any Rone work-of-art. In particular a new work adorning a building edifice somewhere. Word always spreads quickly when those appear. However it is even more of an ‘experience’ attending a solo exhibition where all of these separate strands are combined by Rone himself.
Rather than separate pages dotted around Melbourne this hand-hewn Fitzroy gallery has become the spine of an entire novel. There is narrative, structure and a spellbinding visual journey told. The crumbling walls of the Star Lyric Theatre bookend Rone’s visual story telling. In a metaphorical sense Rone can now add author alongside artist, screen-printer and photographer.
If you live in Melbourne, nay Australia, and love urban art I wouldn’t miss this. You might just have to wait another two years if you do!
Rone Empty. A solo exhibition.
Click an image to enlarge. Photography by Emma Sugg
Location: 247 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. Melbourne
Opening Night: Friday 14 October. 6pm-9pm. | Exhibition Dates: Friday 14 October to Sunday 23 October. 12pm-5pm.
If you have an interest in Pinterest.