melbourne

Jon Cattapan

Realities

In Jon Cattapan’s paintings, nocturnal suburban landscapes bathed in an aqueous greenish light provide a dreamlike setting for various sexual transactions and crimes. J.G. Ballard sketched an entropic greenhouse world in his early short stories peopled by isolated neurotics charting courses across environmentally ruined landscapes. Like Ballard’s four-dimensional nightmare,Cattapan’s paintings are only apparently ruled by narrative; though observed from a bird’s-eye perspective, they avoid grandiose overviews.

The fragmentation of action in these paintings blocks epic interpretation. There is no clear hierarchy among characters, and since the disconnected melodrama of film noir is a constant thread, outcomes don’t seem to add up. Though half-erased figures and swathes of opaque paint suggest a process that involves considerable struggle, Cattapan’s paintings are not particularly gloomy or

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