Darren Wardle’s hyper-real paintings of abandoned buildings and structures appear to be drawn from a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi dystopia. Awash in a synthetic and saturated day-glo palette, they seem to radiate with fallout. Damage to the buildings is met by a similar formal disruption to the paintings themselves, with fractured structural features, graffiti and superimposed splashes of lurid colour used in many works. They resemble plausible spaces but operate more like constructed artificial ruins that comment on structural instability, the inevitability of decay, the failure of modernism and its associated belief in a rational and orderly world. Wardle presents what is at once a terrifying yet alluring vision of disorder and disintegration.
Darren Wardle completed his Masters by Research at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2014. He has exhibited widely in the USA, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He has been curated into many exhibitions of new painting in Australia and internationally, and has held over 20 solo shows.
In 2013 Wardle won the Coast Art Prize and has been a finalist in many others, including the Sulman Prize at the AGNSW in 2014. Television documentaries have been made about his work by the ABC, he has been awarded grants by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria and he has been an artist in residence at prestigious international studio programs. His shows have been reviewed and his practice written about in art journals, magazines and newspapers around the world.
In 2014 he was included in “100 Painters of Tomorrow”, published by Thames and Hudson, and exhibited at Saatchi Gallery in London. The same year his solo exhibition at LaTrobe University Visual Arts Centre Bendigo, “Darren Wardle: Head Case”, featured his confronting series of “Head Case Study” portraits in its entirety for the first time. In 2016 he executed his largest work to date, a 10 metre long mural commissioned by the Shepparton Art Museum.
In October 2016 he commenced a 6 month studio residency in Germany at the Leipzig International Art Program located in the Spinnerei in downtown Leipzig, one of the world’s most renowned centres for contemporary painting in recent times. With the generous support of a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, Wardle’s work featured in a number of curated shows in Leipzig and Berlin over the course of his time in residence. His next show in Germany will be at Galerie FF15 in June this year.
Darren Wardle’s works are held in significant collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Latrobe University Museum Collection, RMIT University Collection, Lyon House Museum, Geelong Gallery, City of Banyule Collection and the Gold Coast City Gallery Collection.