Christopher Wray - '9 x 5'

Wednesday 9 - Saturday 26 February 2022

"My first landscape painting was of the Dandenong Ranges from our home in Boronia when I was about 8 years old. My maternal grandfather encouraged me, giving me his signed copy of Arthur Streeton’s Catalogue and Smike to Bulldog, the published letters between Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts. My great grandfather had been a friend of Streeton and my grandfather had, when young, seen him at work. His stories of the artist helped stir my interest in depicting the Australian landscape.

The paintings in this exhibition are inspired by the 9 x 5 exhibition held in August 1889 at Buxton’s Gallery, Swanston Street, Melbourne, when Streeton, Roberts, Charles Conder and other young painters exhibited ‘impressions’, many of which were painted on 9 x 5 inch cigar box lids, depicting scenes from Australian life and landscape using loose brushwork in a high colour key.

My works are painted on modern composite board, cut to size and depict scenes of Sydney, the Yarra Valley, the country around South Gippsland where my wife and I owned a holiday house in the hills at Mardan, and around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. The paintings in this exhibition are my response to the urban scenes, rural landscapes, the play of light and shade, of clouds and storms which I have sought to capture on the small panels."