Christopher McClelland’s 10th solo exhibition, “A fish out of water: a cultural identity crisis,” blends the whimsical with the atmospheric. The often haunting paintings are an eclectic mix of the past and present, the wide open spaces of Australia and the traditional images of French and Italian culture. His archetypal, sometimes surreal works are open ended narratives incorporating elements of landscape, the figurative and mythology.
When asked about the curious title, Christopher explains, “Over the last four years my partner Cate and I have been travelling regularly to Italy and France. I have always felt a strong resonance with the Art of the Renaissance and the European cultural traditions. The paintings by the early Renaissance artists such as Uccello, Fra Angelico and Perugino are particularly special to me. We would arrive back in Australia and literally feel like fish out of water. It was almost like a cultural identity crisis. I decided to represent this by juxtaposing symbols of the European tradition with representations of Western Australia: space, vast skies and oceans and endless highways cutting through dry flat scrub land.”
Christopher studied Art at the National Gallery Art School, Melbourne, the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne University. As well as practising Art professionally, he is currently teaching Art at Hale school in Perth. He has held solo exhibitions in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and also exhibited in London, Paris and New York. His work is held in a variety of public, corporate and private collections both in Australia and overseas.