Hyperrealism and Improvisation

Painting and Drawing

Hyperrealism: Travelling South Australia's Oodnadatta Track provided the material for a series of paintings.

Improvisation: A Residency at St Vincent's Caritas Christi led to a large number of quick, spontaneous drawings.

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Exhibition Dates: 28 August - 8 September 2018
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am - 5pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm


Hyperrealism and Improvisation are two ways I've been working the last years. Two quite different modes of expression fit for different purposes.

Hyperrealism for the series of landscape paintings from a trip along the Oodnadatta Track.

By Hyperrealism I mean a realistic treatment of a scene, an inventory of detail, but at the same time something more, an attempt to give a sense of the experience of the place – or at least my experience of it: The vastness, the sense of geological time, of grand and overwhelming natural forces slowly and inexorably at work, the struggle facing life in an extreme environment.

It's a landscape shaped by heat and dryness, also by water that now and again inundates it and, because of its flatness, floods all over, turns the earth soft and erodes it.

The Improvisations are drawings done in my residency at St Vincent's Hospital.

That began almost at the same time as my trip along the Oodnadatta Track. In my once-weekly visits to St Vincent's Caritas Christi studios I would attempt to fill as many sheets of paper as quickly and spontaneously as I could.

Perhaps a respite from the paintings determined by the world without, these are genuine improvisations, determined by the world within. No prior plan, only the spontaneous expression of a state of mind. The game was to try to make each mark lively and interesting and then the next likewise in relation to the marks gone down before. If a subject matter arose along the way, then good. If not, no matter.

There is no one way in creativity. Different ways not only serve different purposes, they can inform one another. Operating these two modes in parallel has, I believe, made me better at both.

James Yuncken, June 2018