Idealised reality a touch ‘homogenised’

January 22, 2015
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Lazy Days: Painting the Kiwi Lifestyle,

by Graham Young (New Holland Publishers, RRP $30):

English born artist Graham Young has put together a collection of his kiwi lifestyle works which is just fine. Nice. Pleasant. Any of the adjectives you can use to sum up something so inoffensive that doesn’t quite cross into being considered negative.

Young’s showcase of a somewhat redundant skill idealises the dream of the Kiwi lifestyle and quintessential summer bach holiday. This is fine, and while it does have its own quirky charm, more truth and reality of the lifestyle could have been captured with a camera.

This collection does nothing more than provide a coffee book table of nostalgic memories. Nothing has been investigated, pushed, questioned or exposed in these images. It merely seems as if he has gone to an awful lot of effort to create a view of something so identical to an idealised form that a photograph would have done exactly the same job, with a lot more honesty.

On each page Young has commented with the context or his experience of the image, explaining why he found it interesting.

This does make the book more relatable and relevant

However, in his introduction he criticises shopping malls for being “homogenised, identical spaces”, yet as each of his paintings are the same colour palette, style and depiction, they, too reverberate a homogenised aesthetic.

While this would be a lovely book to flick through at the bach during the height of a summer holiday to remember with nostalgia the magic of a carefree summer holiday as a child, the reality depicted is the idealised, quintessential kiwi summer of days past.

Hayley Browne

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