In the streets of New York
by Brad Robson
There is a sense of isolation in Brad Robson’s latest body of work that explores the psychology of the city of New York and its people.
Brad recently returned to Australia after an artist in residency in New York City. Together Alone documents what it’s like to get amongst such a vibrant city that can “chew you up and spit you out at any minute”. The artworks developed during the residency take on the psychology of what people are going through in the machine of New York.
Brad observed first hand the necessity of developing a thick skin when you live in a city like New York. The pace and intensity of built-up areas can be somewhat abrasive. This is both a blessing and a curse as it builds resilience, but also causes an element of desensitisation.
Despite the thong of humanity pressing in from all sides, Brad experienced a sense of isolation amongst the crowds. “You’ve got all these people who are side by side all doing different things, but they’re completely singular. We also experience this sense of togetherness yet aloneness in the social media environment.” Said Brad.
Eavesdropping on two hotel developers in a cafe in Williamsburg as they talked about how to attract the ‘right’ clientele, Brad was struck by the artificial manufacturing of culture that takes place in cities.
This idea of building infrastructure and marketing it a certain way to attract or create a certain culture. It’s kind of fake, but that’s how it works. It’s almost like a cultural transplant. We take something that was created by people to start with and use it to create a business model and make money from it. Is that ethical?
Together Alone is a series of oil paintings of various applications, often using custom-made tools. The works were produced both during Brad’s time in NY and while reflecting on his experience on returning to Australia.
TOGETHER ALONE in the streets of New York 5th December, 7pm Create or Die Gallery The Studio - 10 Mitchell Street Marrickville