IN THE GALLERY: Within Region

Kevin Chin

29 Nov - 17 Dec 2022

While Kevin Chin’s large-scale oil paintings have connected distant lands for years, his new exhibition is inspired by unprecedented sea change and tree change.
Last year Australia witnessed the largest internal migration away from capital cities in twenty years. Kevin explains, “I’ve been influenced by the greater fluidity between metropolitan, regional and rural Australia, as more people have been working – and daydreaming – remotely from home. I’ve always been interested in how migration has sparked hybrid ways of seeing geography, and now that’s even more relevant on a wider scale. I think this feeling of being somehow in between places is now something we can all directly relate to.”

These atmospheric paintings intersperse farmland with open ocean, suburban houses with waterfalls, Western Australian rocks with Victorian barnyard haystacks and Queensland tropical rainforest. Elements from all over Australia are mixed together with other parts of the world, to remind us that our sense of belonging begins in our imagination. Through a meticulous process of building up oil glazes, they evolve into shimmering dreamscapes.

Kevin Chin’s gently disorienting paintings connect distant lands and cross-cultural references to question how we find our place in the world. His unmistakable compositions, assembled from fragments, explore how we piece together postcolonial identities and navigate global flows. He reframes landscape conventions, to interrogate how land rights and belonging are constantly contested, ultimately imagining new territories.

Kevin’s paintings are instantly recognised by his inventive use of colour, bringing signature warmth and compassion to pressing social themes. Richly layered with translucent glazes, he employs this slow-working method to ‘feel his way through the image,’ teasing the meaning out of disparate elements into a cohesive vision. This imbues the paintings with emotional charge, and his skill with traditional hoghair bristles keeps his precise brushwork always expressive. The large-scale sweeping vistas are immediately atmospheric and reward close inspection with the most meticulous of minute details. Kevin redeploys the historical lineage of grandiose painting, but from the perspective of those minority groups that the art institution has excluded and objectified. In this way, he reclaims the oil-on-linen canon for the marginalised, to revise grand narratives in contemporary art.

See exhibition catalogue HERE