We have no compunctions with stating right here and now that E.L.K. is one of our all time favourite Australian artists. His work over the years has continually blown us away and catapulted him to the top of his game. Now, after a hugely successful year, E.L.K. will be presenting his next solo show “Not With It”, at Metro Gallery in Melbourne – this is going to be fkn awesome.
“E.L.K’s work is a progressive social commentary that emanates from a uniquely Australian perspective. The portraits of Hon. Bob Hawke and Fr Bob Maguire were exceptionally well received, making him the first artist in history to be accepted into the prestigious Archibald prize with a portrait that has roots in the street art culture. E.L.K’s latest exhibition ‘Not with it’ is inspired by the cultural response from Australian society to the GFC – as he sees it. As an artist that has, for the most part, existed on the fringes, E.L.K examines the divide between rich and poor through poignant and satirical art works such as “Don’t worry, be happy?” which depicts a ‘plain Jane’ girl-next-door archetype, hands clasping a sign saying “will work for food”.
“Not With It” touches on the separation of church and state through E.L.K.s portraiture of iconic, though controversial, Australians, which are partnered with the aforementioned social commentary via his tongue-in-cheek, street based works. The image of a Rosella upon a black background is an incredibly uplifting moment, described as “a dizziness of freedom” – a laconic, yet utterly familiar connection.
A crucial fulcrum lay between E.L.K’s association with street art, and his works dichotomy with fine art; this tension is always negotiated through his use of subject matter and well honed technique. The method by which E.L.K breaks the boundaries of stencils – a medium that is traditionally associated with street art – is contrasted with his political and societal observations, the subject matter of which is irrevocable linked to both fields.
The real question, however, with E.L.K’s work is not where it has taken him, but where it will take him next. Like the essential notion contained within the laws of physics, for E.L.K, the only way is up.
As Winston Churchill said “Kites climb higher against the wind, NOT WITH IT”
We’ll leave you with this event info for now – as we have a really cool feature coming up on the man in the next few days … so stay tuned for the good shit!
What: Not With It solo show
Where: Metro Gallery, 1214 High St, Armadale
When: Show opens Wednesday 14th from 6:30pm til 9pm and runs until 1st December