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‘Veneer’ at Anita Traverso Gallery

Matthew de Moiser’s latest series of two-dimensional works conflate the language of hard-edged abstraction and the formal qualities of modernist architecture with a quintessentially suburban, Australian ‘feel’.

There is an unmistakable familiarity in Matthew de Moiser’s spare yet arresting suburban landscapes. It’s not just the generic familiarity of the places depicted or the spirit of Drysdale, Arkley and Smart that the work evokes.

Although they look like paintings, upon closer inspection these painstakingly meticulous works are actually assemblages made from finely cut laminate – a common plastic veneer found in suburban homes throughout Australia.

Service stations, backyard swimming pools and overpasses are reduced to fundamental colours, shapes and form, creating vibrant multi-coloured impressions of the Australian suburban condition. Like his earlier abstract sculptural work made from Ikea furniture parts, the laminate paintings as Matthew calls them are an escape – a search for some sort of formal abstraction that transcends the austere reality of the everyday.

Born in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, Matthew’s grandparents originally migrated to Geelong as Estonian refugees where they built their first home out of re-used packing crates. In many ways this history still influences his practice today and is apparent in his philosophical enquiry and appropriation and re-use of materials. Although he has been showing regularly in Sydney, this is the first time the laminate paintings have been exhibited as a collection in Melbourne and bare evidence of the artist’s recent move from the eastern suburbs to Melbourne’s north.

Exhibition runs 2-23 March at Anita Traverso Gallery, 7 Albert Street, Richmond, VIC

Anita Traverso Gallery