This suite of new large-scale paintings embodies Creek's ongoing interest in issues of history, politics, identity and the everyday, and the connections between these distinct realms and registers. These complex paintings combine abstract and representational elements, and incorporate diverse painting techniques to provide commentary and reflection of this fraught, complex contemporary moment.Greg Creek's practice over the past 25 years has represented a political perspective on personal and public histories—engaging narrative, allegory and satire in large painting, drawing and installation projects. Described as 'one of Melbourne's most complex and demanding artists', Creek's practice poses compelling questions about art history, politics, aesthetics and, not least, the question that perpetually hovers over art making today: the relevance of painting as a medium for contemporary practice.
Creek is perhaps most well known for his large scale political and allegorical paintings, including his series The Violence of Appearances, while large desktop works—begun as the throw away blotting sheets for his oil paintings—have since become a focus of his practice, significant in their own right. Creek uses a range of dierent graphic styles and mediums: representational and abstract rendered drawings, watercolours, diagrams, notations from everyday life and collage among so many others. Creek's works often incorporate aspects of the working process such as spills and stains and, much as Creek constructs the works themselves, this excess of information begins to form an idiosyncratic, philosophical narrative.
'For all that Creek’s work is deliberately public in its pursuit of the diatribe and the settling of accounts there are always the ‘silences’; the gaps to be filled in, the things not yet known because history has its way of flitting past things and rewriting as it goes. Some things must be left unsaid, private things that remain hidden behind facades. Perhaps we are all like the lone rower who glides peacefully, beautifully, for a moment out of the murk and messiness of confusion to seek some clarity, some distance.'
Juliana Engberg, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2003.
The making of a painting
Central to viewing a painting for me is the notion of recoverability; understanding the making of the painting is coded into its final state, and performs our reading of it.
Greg Creek, April 2020.
From the ArchiveParis Desktop Drawing, 2000
The Paris Desktop Drawing was produced over a period of months in 2000, while Greg Creek was resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Approximately a metre of drawing was completed each week, with Creek scrolling from right to left on a portable drawing table, . The drawing process captured the minutiae of everyday events, thoughts and markings in their relations to observations and musings upon broader public motifs. The drawing is an extended scroll, like an antipodean explorer’s journal laid out.