Melbourne Exhibition: ‘Bodega Two *More Fun’

Presented by RVCA Corner Gallery, ‘Bodega Two *More Fun’ is the second collaborative exhibition by First Coat Studios resident artists David Usher and Ian McCallum.

‘Bodega Two *More Fun'
Words Grace Dewar

The works for ‘Bodega Two *More Fun’, look to regional Australia for inspiration. McCallum’s collection of signage from forgotten towns, together with Usher’s presence of nature reignited the collaboration and it certainly is more fun.  

Through a common interest in reinterpreting the real and imagined worlds around them, Usher and McCallum have developed controlled chaos from their shared Queensland studio.

The original ‘Bodega’ (‘Bodega *A Fun Place’) was the culmination of McCallum’s solo venture to California in 2016. His analogue frames of Yosemite National Park and lettering found on Bodegas (small corner stores) across Los Angeles and San Francisco began the series. Countering these photographs, Usher devised mountainous settings for the lettering to inhabit.

The studio process involves laying out half a dozen works as a point of departure which serves to inform a building of visual cues or links between earlier works and new works. This series has been constructed with acrylic under-layers which are progressively scraped back, painted over and worked through. Most works are then disrupted further with the introduction of enamels to develop a level of visual tension amongst the surfaces.

David Usher is a Brisbane-born Toowoomba based artist responding to physical and ideological landscapes. Often working from memory, his paintings are reminiscent of transient environments captured from the passenger window.

A sign writer by trade, Ian McCallum’s documentative process creates a visual anthropology.  Through layering and a collage-like aesthetic, McCallum’s practice utilises film photography, interspersed with fast and intuitive surface experiments.