SURF ‘N’ TURF AT THE ARTS CENTRE

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BY BENJAMEN JUDD

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If there is one thing the Gold Coast is known for (besides us) is its unbeatable beaches and surfing culture. With many of the top events held here annually,  surfing is as much a culture as it is a lifestyle and sport and it is no surprise that local artists continually explore the theme and its integral part in creating a local identity. Brisbane-based artist, Sebastian Di Mauro’s show Surf ‘N’ Turf  is now in its final weeks at the Arts Centre and is a fantastic look at the Aussie ideal.

Surf ‘n’ Turf is a playful sculptural installation of artificial plastic grass and colourful neoprene – the rubbery stuff that wet suits are made of and taps into some of the aspirations of the suburban Australian dream, acknowledging that a large percentage of the population live on or close to the coast. The work also looks at how, despite being drought-prone, there is a strong desire to create and maintain the evergreen manicured lawn and a ‘little piece of heaven on earth’.

His deliberate use of ‘fake’ grass plays with the concept of seeking greener pastures – a better life,  which is what most immigrants who venture to Australia,  including his own family, were searching for.

Inspired by the lawn sprinkler and pool paintings of British born artist David Hockney, Di Mauro observed, ‘Hockney’s early work depicts his experience of living on the west coast [of America]. Many of these paintings depict green manicured lawns, blue water pools and a new way of living to the one he left behind in England.’

The central striking installation in Surf ‘n’ Turf features an undulating artificial turf form, extending from the wall and wrapping outwards onto the floor. Within this structure are patches of blue neoprene and it is these perfect clean pool like shapes, representing the aquatic pride of the backyard, which are the epitome of our desire to reconstruct and control a natural experience with our domestic space.

Sebastian Di Mauro’s Surf ‘n’ Turf  is now showing at the Arts Centre, Gold Coast and will close this coming Sunday, 16 March. Entry is Free.