Places Nearby captures scenes of inner Melbourne at a time in its history when self-confidence is
flowering like perhaps never before. The cultural cringe is in recession. We have attained a level
of sophistication and maturity that is starting to measure up. Gone is the necessity to flee this
city in the search. We are now more interested in ourselves and our environs as topics worthy of
Places Nearby is my perspective on that Melbourne, from places near where I live and work,
reflecting that new-found self-confidence.
Continuing the theme of my 2012 exhibition, Walking to Work, the paintings are based on photographs
taken between November 2010 and October 2013. From that date and time-specific primary source
material the scenes are carefully selected for content and composition. They are faithfully
depicted in detail. But the intention is not the two dimensional flatness of the photograph.
Rather it is to attempt to make the observer present in that place, to communicate the scene in
a sense that is almost palpable- the bricks, masonry, roads, poles, etc.
I have a couple of old pictures of Melbourne. One sees how it was, how it's changed and what
remains well over a hundred years later. Accurate, detailed recording of the scenes plays an
important part in this series of paintings. I hope that wealth of detail will tell not just what
has changed and what remains, but also much about contemporary society, who and what we were.
And no doubt the way we see the works will be very different with the passage of time. What the
complexities of the moment confuse and conceal in plain sight will slowly loom ever larger and
from perspectives we cannot now imagine.
James Yuncken, July 2014