Tale of two cities (2009)
This was a joint exhibition between myself and Sydney artist Rod Holdaway in 2009. Rod’s works are depictions of the people and places around Newtown, a suburb of Sydney, and my own work was done of the Newcastle streets between 1989 and 1992. Meeting Rod Holdaway a few years ago was the beginning of an intense dialogue with the man and his work. In painting, one rarely sees tension and balance taking place between the subject and the aesthetic means to express it. He has an authentic vision of the real world in which he is embedded.
"Merrick Fry’s paintings from his ‘Everyday Illuminations’ series reflect his personal and artistic philosophy. A generosity of spirit and connectedness to the lives of other people are evident in both the man and his work. In these paintings the artist observes and records what he sees in a painterly language informed by the old masters; both European and Chinese. Lightness of touch and thinness of paint, applied with strength of conviction are hallmarks of his work. Here is an artist who is critical of current popular trends, who argues in favour of meaning over superficial style."
- Rod Holdaway
"One of the joys of representing and working with visual artists is the collaboration. This exhibition is a three-way collaboration. Merrick and I have known each other for many years. Although he has never exhibited in my gallery, I have followed closely the progression of his beautifully idiosyncratic works. Each stage has delighted and intrigued.
Rod Holdaway entered my life some three years ago. Respected for his commitment to painting, this and his integrity and constantly enquiring mind, has added to the quality of the artists represented by my gallery. It is the artists who are my inspiration and whom I find endlessly creative. These are no exception."
- Stella Downer