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Tony Slater

Under the Sun

At the Yellow House, Potts Point Exhibition dates: 7 September - 1 October 2016

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Under the Sun encompasses urban landscapes by Tony Slater, depicting areas of regional New South Wales that are intensely familiar to the artist. Slater has composed images of suburban streets, landscapes of closely cut lawns and carefully placed trees bisected by roads, paths and telegraph poles. The works are unpopulated although the presence of people is keenly felt through the emphasis on dwellings, fences, gardens and even washing hanging on a line. This creates, as Sebastian Smee observes, ‘a strange kind of lonely intimacy.'

Slater has always been struck by the sculpting power of Australian light, and this is evident in these paintings, which showcase his mastery of tone. Painted at different times of the day, the harshness of noon softens into sunrise and dusk, and deep shadows form patterns across the works. The paintings are elevated by light. While these urban scenes could appear banal under a lesser hand, the skill of the artist creates a particular beauty and a view distinct from the everyday.

The seemingly straightforward subject matter belies the dynamic complexity of each composition. Slater's vivid works are characterised by the unusual perspectives and truncated views apparent in this series. These are masterfully painted, realistic settings, however we can't easily place ourselves in them, and this invites us to see afresh the suburban Australia that can sometimes be taken for granted.