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Letting the art breathe

31 Mar 2016

Letting the art breathe Image

By Nicholas Li

Demian Carey-Gibbins’ world is one of sustainability, efficiency, and mood.

The Waterfront Gallery sits on Lorimer St, facing out towards the river. Light floods the gallery space with large windows providing panoramic views of an overcast skyline. Everything feels open, with a grand sense of space.

Mr Carey-Gibbins has been living with his young family above the gallery for 12 months. Having lived in the city for 10 years, the move has facilitated easier access to the gallery, which also acts as his studio.

For Mr Carey-Gibbins, the area and its facilities came as a surprise.

“We didn’t know this part of the Docklands even existed. We love it. That’s not even spin,” he said.

“I was looking for an empty concrete shell, something that was half built – a development that had these cavernous places. Galleries that are large have a lot of impact, you go to the NGV, the Tate Modern, there’s that impact of being able to observe art within a very large space.”

“It isolates the art and allows you to encounter it in a way that if you were in a small, enclosed space you just can’t. It allows the art room to breathe,” he said.

Mr Carey-Gibbins’ Global Village series features portraits of cities is characterised by striking colours and angles. His attention is focused on capturing the personality of the city. The first series featured portraits of Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.

The gallery space in its proximity to the city was thus a perfect fit for Carey-Gibbins’ creative aesthetic.

‘There’s a resonance between the work and the fact that it’s celebrating cities and what people are capable of creating,” he said.

The value of efficiency underpins his choices, both in his daily living and as an artist. Sustainability is a core part of his being.

“I grew up a hippie in Nimbin. This is a long cry from that,” he laughs.

He argues that the stigma attached to cities is unfair.

“A city per capita, per person, has less environmental impact than the suburbs, because of the smaller footprint … you start to look at the science and you realise things aren’t as straight forward as you think they are.”

“Docklands is a planned part of the city and focuses on sustainability,” he said.

From his apartment above the gallery, to his children’s childcare down the road, every facet of his life operates in absolute efficient harmony.

“This period of my life is where I want to be productive and be close to the city, and close to a lot of people that are doing a lot of different things. It’s perfect. It’s efficient,” he said.

At 38 years old, his style continues to evolve, inspired by the lessons of time and the cityscape around him.

“You want to push yourself. You look back and see yourself as naïve regularly.  You look back and think, ‘I knew nothing’ I’ve evolved away from realism. I’m much more expressive and I’m much more obsessed with the texture of the paint. But people would still say I’m a realist.”

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