high street: New paintings
James Riches
13–28 July 2024

The mainline through Northcote, Thornbury and Preston, James Riches’ new series High Street: New Paintings, presents the famed street–recently declared the world’s coolest–in uncharacteristic quietness, cast aglow in the changing light of the day. In these hours, the viewer is offered a more serene view of a scene often bustling with people, as if we are glancing out the window of the 86 at the end of a long day. Brimming with sentimentality, these paintings are an ode to a stretch of road that is the heartbeat for many lives.

Harnessing the fleeting palettes and momentary beauty of the changing skies, James Riches' paintings are a contemplative, perhaps romanticized study of suburban scenes. Offering a narrative touched with nostalgia, his paintings place us within the magical hours as the world quietens down with the dipping of the sun, to emerge anew and hopeful with each breaking dawn.

As Riches’ practice slowly moves in a new direction, these artworks are both a result of, and a subtle nod toward the artist’s transition into a new era of painting, as his lens shifts focus to new horizons.

High Street: New Paintings is presented by BSG Projects in the Ground Floor Gallery. James Riches is represented by Brunswick Street Gallery.

Please join us for a drink to celebrate the opening of High Street: New Paintings on Saturday 13 July (6–8PM).

Drawing has always been a primary interest of James Riches'. Completing his Bachelor of Fine Art (majoring in drawing) at RMIT in 2008, this has taken him down various paths exploring illustration, observational drawing and conceptual ideas of a contemporary drawing practice. His long held interest in the tradition of oil painting now forms the focus of his current art practice.

There has been continuity through these explorations of a somewhat dark, vaguely idyllic notion of landscape in suburbia. These environments are rarely unmarked by human presence or behaviour. The idea of a park, a footbridge, the walk home through an industrial estate, may have composed his life to some extent – and consequently the content for making art.

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