From Sharne Wolff…
The Beautiful Misery brings to mind those emphatic lyrics of Chrissie Amphlett and The Divinyl’s ‘There’s a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain’. In Anthony’s Lister’s new Sydney exhibition human figures clothed in floral garlands, smiling skulls, swords decorated with candles, Jesus wearing a crown of roses, the toxic bloom Datura and even a painting of Kings Cross – are all loosely connected by the apparent contradiction in the words of the title. Despite the absence of his trademark superheroes, Lister’s less-is-more philosophy, sweeping black outlines and exaggerated body parts mean these new subjects are immediately identified with the artist. He’s also ably conveyed facial expressions using a swipe of blue for eyes and a dash of his favourite red for lips. Beneath applications of acrylic and oils the presence of spray paint gives the appearance of a free hand while Lister’s in control of every tiny detail.
This show demonstrates the artist’s versatility through a range of large and small scale paintings, black and white light-box stencils and the limited edition bronze Dancer. Lister, spray can in hand, has painted his artistic legacy onto the walls of world cities for almost two decades. With street art providing the fun and adrenalin surges, he regards his studio practice as the real thing.
Until August 25
Olsen Irwin Gallery, Woollahra
Pic: Anthony Lister, The beautiful misery, 2013, ink, charcoal, spray paint, acrylic and oil on canvas, 190 x 186cm. Courtesy the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery.