November exhibition 2018

Marrickville Streetview 

Paul Mallam


Photo by Ellen Dahl

Photo by Ellen Dahl

“Marrickville Streetview” explores the relationship between physical place, landscape, painting, time, online search tools and the now all-pervasive nature of digital photography.  

Since the invention of the daguerreotype, photography and painting have enjoyed a dynamic and often combative relationship.  First viewed as marking the end of painting, photography liberated painting from the need to realistically record people, events and places, creating a new trajectory from Manet to modernism.  The combination of digital photography, data storage and online search tools has radically shifted that relationship, with photography now a ubiquitous medium, able to create an accessible digital record of every street in the Western world.  What is painting’s role, in a world where an estimated 14,600 billion photographs are created annually?  

Online search tools now enable us to experience “place” purely through a computer screen.  The 18 paintings in this series explore this online experience.  

However, by using traditional painterly techniques- visible brushstroke, non-local colour, framing and so forth- computerised views of place are transformed into works of imagination.  This practice also returns landscape painting from a plein air tradition to a studio-based tradition, but by using a computer screen as the source of the work.  By painting each work in 50 minutes, the works become a measure of time, emphasising the paradox that a painting always exists in the present, whereas as Roland Barthes observed in Camera Lucida, a photograph memorialises the past.  

For more of Paul’s 50 minute paintings, search paulrmallam on Instagram.

Image credit: courtesy of the artist