Our lives are ruled and regulated by arrows – on traffic signs, in shopping complexes, on TV and computer screens. We reflexively heed their commands although they barely register on our consciousness. It’s only when an artist starts to notice this all-pervasive icon that it takes on another dimension. A symbol of our triumph over nature, the arrow abolishes our freedom of movement, telling us there is only one way to go.
Rex Dupain, like the painter, Jeffrey Smart before him, has become fascinated by arrows painted on roads and tarmacs, in cities and the remotest locations. The most minimal of artworks, they act as severe graphic intrusions on the landscape. Dupain’s photographs are found compositions in which every frame is dominated by that single, insistent sign. As Wordsworth wrote: “The eye – it cannot choose but see.” In everyday life we see, and we obey. In the gallery, these arrows are robbed of their motivating power, being cast in an entirely unfamiliar role as objects of contemplation.
– John McDonald
Rex Dupain has held numerous solo exhibitions, both domestically and internationally, at esteemed galleries and institutions including: The Australian Embassy in Paris, The National Trust Centre (SH Ervin Gallery), The Museum of Sydney, and Michael Reid Berlin. Rex has also had multiple photography books published including: The Colour of Bondi (New Holland Publishers), Australia: 100 Photographs (Penguin Publishing), and Bondi to Broken Hill (Harper Collins Publishers).