Planes, Trains And Automobiles
Fort Delta is delighted to present Planes, Trains And Automobiles – a solo exhibition of new work by artist Julian Hocking.
The exhibition takes its title from John Hughes’ 1987 classic of the same name. Part comedy or errors, part road movie, the film follows an uptight marketing executive played by Steve Martin (Neal Page) on his exasperating odyssey to get home from New York to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. Plagued by bad weather, flight delays, a train breakdown, and various other set backs – Neal repeatedly crosses paths with a happy-go-lucky curtain-ring salesman played by the late John Candy (Del Griffith).
For his new show at Fort Delta, artist Julian Hocking explicitly likens both the extreme frustrations and jovial outcomes that plot Planes, Trains And Automobiles’ narrative and character divisions as indexical to his practice for making art. This arose from the stringent perimeters Hocking set himself while making work for the show – which were limited to a primary colour palette of red, yellow and blue, sandwiched between minimally blocked intervals of black ink woodcuts, composed with occasional sequences of scribbled graphite.
Steeping a methodology of minimal execution with elementary and craft-based aesthetics may seem comical enough, however, Hocking goes one step further by employing his one-liner aesthetic to originate a vast series of portraits for the exhibition. The scale and pace that constitutes these portraits becomes suggestive of passengers using pubic transport, in transit at airport terminals, or the blurred countenance of a passenger driving past us in a fast moving vehicle.
The minimal, controlled and supposed verisimilitude exhibited by his portraits also translates to his other works that depict flattened industrial forms and facilities, resembling road maps, the utilitarian layouts and architecture of train stations, and the various cogs and mechanism that churn this infrastructure. His signature woodblock technique imparts these weathered and frequently used amenities; alluding to the eroded residues of foot and vehicle traffic. His limited gambit of making for the show emphasizes the satisfaction and pleasure of repetition and also acknowledges the very real frustrations of authenticating new outcomes one after the other – a scenario that is at once enjoyable yet also hints at the doldrums of the daily grind.