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J Valenzuela Didi and Jonathan Bentley Exhibition

Home > Brisbane > Art | Exhibitions | Free | Galleries
by Brian McIver (subscribe)
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Queenslanders and inked up pooches
lethbridge gallery, jonathon bentley, sea dog
Sea Dog 3. By Jonathon Bentley, image courtesy of Lethbridge Gallery

Living in Brisbane, we often forget just how unique and eccentric our buildings are. When I moved here from Canberra 13 years ago, I remember thinking how strongly linked the inner city is, just from the colours used in the railway stations crisscrossing the area. Slowly fading maroon, deep golds and yellows, lots of brickwork. Likewise, the older suburbs of inner Brisbane showcase the iconic Queenslanders, and it's this style of house which has inspired J Valenzuela Didi to capture the way in which they speak to him.

"Houses tell stories. They stir memories of days long-forgotten. They serve as functional monuments, solitary observers of the passing of time. I'm intrigued by the lives of houses. Old Queenslanders, post-war homes, fibro; each have their own distinct personalities, tales and ghosts."

A Brisbane local, artist J Valenzuela Didi draws on the emergence of patterns and geometric shapes to explore common scenes and signposts of modern life. In his paintings, familiar urban landscapes become haunting and alien reminders of the beauty and character of the present-day.

A detached sense of isolation and impermanence is discovered within his portrayals of Queensland houses in his latest exhibition, 'Shrine of the lost suburban'.

lethbridge gallery, j valenzuela didi, bird on the wire
Bird on the wire. By J Valenzuela Didi, image courtesy of Lethbridge Gallery

J has been a finalist and prize-winner in several prestigious art prizes including the Gold Coast Art Prize, Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Redland Art Awards, Border Art Prize and the Publishers Cup Prize. J was awarded the Best of Show prize in the Brisbane Rotary Art Spectacular 2015.

"Every now and then I come across a house that resonates with me. They may be reminding me of places hidden in my memory. I have no conscious recollection of ever living in a house like the one in the painting, yet when I saw the house on a Paddington street I somehow felt a connection. An attachment that always remains distant and out of reach.

As more and more dwellings get demolished to make way for new developments the houses that remain gain all the more significance, becoming haunting reminders of the transience of life. The works in this exhibition explore the lives of these houses, shrines of the lost suburban

J's art is sure to cast the changing face of Brisbane in a new light. What are we becoming, and what will be lost?

j valenzuela didi, sons and daughters of hungry ghosts, lethbridge gallery
Sons and daughters of hungry ghosts. By J Valenzuela Didi, image courtesy of Lethbridge Gallery

Jonathan Bentley is an award-winning illustrator, artist and author who has exhibited his work in London, Sydney and Canberra as well as a sold-out exhibition at Lethbridge gallery in 2016.
Jonathan was an illustrator at the Courier Mail for twenty years but now works solely on his painting and children's books. He has illustrated over thirty books and written three and had them translated into over twenty languages.

Jonathan's 'Sea Dog's' series of paintings continues his desire to explore and learn through all of his art practices.

sea dog, jonathon bentley, lethbridge gallery
Sea Dog 2. By Jonathon Bentley, image courtesy of Lethbridge Gallery

"My 'Sea Dog's' series of paintings follows on from my 'Inked' series in that it continues my fascination with mark making through engraving and scratching the surface of the paintings but with this series I have had a lot of fun moving the narrative to dogs with tattoos.

Certain breeds of dog have a very tough persona and it appealed to me to imagine these might be the type of dog's that would get tattoos. Not just any tattoos, the 'old school' style. A style which comes mainly from old navy tattoos and is so appropriate to me at this time as I currently live in the historical fishing port of St Ives ,Cornwall. Here stories of Pirates and smuggling are part of the local folklore, in fact, you may find these old 'Sea Dogs' sitting at the bar in the famous Sloop Inn telling tales over a rum or two."

sea dog, jonathon bentley, lethbridge gallery
Sea Dog 1. By Jonathon Bentley, image courtesy of Lethbridge Gallery

Both artists are now the subject of an exhibition at Lethbridge Gallery, and seeing their works will certainly prove enriching.

Lethbridge Gallery is located at 136 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington QLD. There is plenty of free street parking around the gallery and there are bus stops nearby (including the maroon city glider stop just up the road at the Paddington central shopping centre). Plan your journey with Translink here.

Established by Brett Lethbridge in 2004, Lethbridge Gallery has a strong reputation for showing a diverse range of technically accomplished, high-quality artworks.

New exhibitions are shown in the gallery approximately every three weeks and consist of both established and emerging artists. Lethbridge Gallery also manages art prizes and hold art auctions. To keep up to date with this and upcoming exhibitions, be sure to follow their Facebook page.
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Why? A fascinating exhibition on creativity and architecture in the modern world
When: Check website for opening times
Where: 136 LaTrobe Terrace, Paddington
Cost: FREE
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