Fidelities presents a series of solo projects by artists Kez Hughes, David Jolly and Sienna van Rossum. Fidelity can be described as the degree of exactness with which something is copied or reproduced, and certainly these three artists each pledge a certain degree of fidelity, or truth, to subject matter with their relationship to realist painting. However, in each case, theit paintings are based on photographs, which of course bear their own relationship to 'truth', and choices are made by the artists that tell half a story, or none at all.
Focusing on the art community in which she is embedded, Kez Hughes makes art that seems to be about art; exquisitely-rendered realist paintings that document exhibitions of her peers. Hughes's paintings of paintings, sculptures, videos or installations by other artists certainly engage issues of authenticity and authorship - as well as provide commentary on our various cultural ecologies - but they also comprise a curatorial exercise in subjectivity and permission. Questions of ethics and gatekeeping abound.
David Jolly's paintings on glass portray jewel-like sketches of everyday life, often glimpsed moments or half-forgotten mementoes. Passing landscapes, fragments of graffiti, discarded invitations and abstracted logos are all treated carefully yet democratically, rendered in a precise and painstaking manner onto glass panels. Though Jolly selects his images from across time and space, and they often bear no relationship to one another, poetic narratives begin to emerge purporting to represent an intimate snapshot of quotidian life.
Sienna van Rossum's images also bear witness to the things around her; often loved and worn items from around the artist's home, but generally focusing on subjects in varying stages of deterioration or decay. While van Rossum meticulously, even lovingly, renders things such as stains, tears and scratches - paying close attention to the things we might generally overlook - she seems less concerned with the subjects themselves than in urging us, the viewers, to slow down and look carefully.
The work of Hughes, Jolly and van Rossum is selective and sophisticated, and wildly diverse with respect to both subject and subjectivity. Yet these three artists - of three different generations of graduates from the painting department at the Victorian College of the Arts - share a mutual commitment to the contemporary discourse around representational and realist painting in this country.