Kelly Sullivan’s painting, You Are Here, is an impressive red triptych featuring cute retro cars and caravans, on a grid inspired by a 1970s London street map. 

On closer inspection you can read the names of the streets and roads that make up this imaginary location…

Holiday Let Road; Bong Head Court; and Only People Who Practice Yoga Can Live Here Boulevard, are just a few examples that give a taste of the theme of the work.

Kelly says her painting is intended to be viewed as satirical, with the street names she has used inspired by a mix of her own experience as a Byron shire resident, and the Letters to the Editor she reads in the Echo.

And whilst it may appear to be a slur on the local situation, Kelly says the work is also about the national experience of the sea-change phenomenon, and could be set anywhere up and down the coast, in one of the many small coastal towns that have suddenly gained an influx of new residents. 
 
Kelly’s painting is the centrepiece for a new exhibition opening at Retrospect Galleries, exploring the contemporary Australian landscape, also by chance entitled, You Are Here.

The show features work by a select group of local and interstate artists, including 2010 Byron Art Classic Representation Prize winners Juan Fernandez and Karen Jennings, Alstonville artist Stephen Phibbs and Brisbane’s Lisa Lee.

Melbourne artist Adrian Doyle will be exhibiting for the first time at Retrospect, presenting a new series of works that explore the changing relationship between Australians with the landscape. 

“We are an urbanised community, with an unfamiliar relationship with the rural landscape,” Doyle says.

“Whilst the romantic notion of the Australian landscape still exists, it has been hijacked by sentimentality and nostalgia.

“The true modern Australian landscape is made up of identical clad suburban streets and small suburbs with small, but important suburban stories.

“It is in this mediocrity that Australia finds its greatness, and a large part of its identity.”

You Are Here opens at Retrospect Galleries 6pm Friday, August 27. Opening speech by Mandy Nolan, followed by an informal street naming competition, over beers provided by Byron-based brewers Stone and Wood. 

For more information phone the Gallery on 02 6680 8825 or visit www.retrospectgalleries.com.

Image: Kelly Sullivan, You Are Here.