REVIEW | ‘In This Together’ by Tom Gerrard and Aeon at RVCA Gallery, Collingwood

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Designing, sculpting, building, sketching, drawing, painting, writing, drawing – these are just some of the verbiage used to describe the applications of a visual artists. Some use the brush to compile their thoughts, others wield a pen for wordplay and then there are those who forge their work by any way they see fit – creating varied results. With so much to use and engage with, it can be somewhat disappointing to see artists display a new body of work, under the same format presented time and time again, despite the rules of art stating that there are no rules, with exploration often finding satisfaction in newly discovered paths. Combining years of experiences in travel and his craft, mixed with an appetite to create and a mind soaking it up like a sponge, Melbourne-based artist, Tom Gerrard has been quietly fine tuning a new body of work to present at Collingwood’s RVCA Gallery, titled – In This Together. Comprising of over 40 paintings, sculptures and installations, this collection also revisits the signature work of his spray painting alter-ego – Aeon, in an exciting exhibition that breaks the fourth wall (no pun intended), by pushing his work into new and fitting territories. Opening for viewing as a single setting, In This Together is an inspiring compilation of the diversified talented, by one of Melbourne’s hardest working artists.

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After spending the last half of the decade away from his hometown, Gerrard has collected an extra life’s worth of new experiences, painting and working as far as South America and Europe via an extended vacation. Having established himself at the Melbourne graffiti and street art boom period (the mid-2000’s), Gerrard’s absence can only be perceived as a beneficial one in the artist’s creative evolution. Moving from the familiar alleys, galleries and settings of Melbourne, to producing work in places littered with language barriers, misunderstandings and danger, makes just the idea of creating, an difficult one. These unfamiliar changes stretch an artist from a technical standpoint, while also their thinking in the way it is interpreted. Whether it be as Aeon or Gerrard, In This Together represents this thirst for fresh terrain, with each painted layer representing a step forward toward an undiscovered path. The explorations in watercolour, aerosol and oil, sit alongside light boxes, brush and woodwork, spawning a suitably diverse mixed bag of creativity for the fine artist. Mixing the best from both of his creative pools, this collection of work sits side by side with adversity at each turn. On one hand, you find a youthful presence as primitive moustache bearing men, blindly gaze into the background, stubbornly wondering just what it is you’re looking at. Moving to the side, fine lines of comfort outline suburban settings, drizzled with precision and imperfections such as garbage and graffiti. Gerrard clearly views the world, along with those who inhabit it, in a very unique way, with this display conjuring up thoughts on the broken rudimentary of life, adulthood and moving forward from the past. These kind of themes are only properly explored by the variety of people you meet, the ability to understand their story, what you learn from their mistakes and how you interpreted this in your work. Amassing a life of its own, In This Together isn’t just an exhibition by a multi-talented painter, but a call to step outside of your comfort zone – look, see and listen to all that surrounds you, all the while understanding a common ground with yourself and whatever is stopping you to take that next step toward a new path.

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In This Together is open now until March 12, Tom Gerrard will be sitting in the gallery for the remained of the exhibition, available to answer an questions you have about the show and his work.

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TOM GERRARDAEON

RVCA CORNER GALLERY