In his latest series of paintings, Archibald finalist James Guppy takes us on a very different journey from his previous works exploring the darker sides of sexuality. Here he plants us firmly in the ordered world of suburbia. Yet within these banal vistas of double garages and rendered porticos, his figures float through the streetscapes with a fantastical grace.
Guppy depicts houses on Sunrise Boulevard, a street near his own home, worlds away from that other place of dreams, Hollywood?s Sunset Boulevard. He delves into our backyards and invites us to consider how we relate to our environment. This is the world of Australian egalitarianism which values modest possessions over individual fame and fortune.
Never one to simply paint a serene ?reality?, Guppy provides us with a twist. There is a darker side here. The humble dream of a quarter acre block insulates its residents against the evils of the outside world. This ?cultural cotton wool? as Guppy terms it, enables his subjects to float through their lives happily oblivious to the outside world ?wrapped in a sunny blanket of security?. Or is it perhaps that they are keen to escape the deadening silence which is the price of this safety?