All work and no play
By Rhonda Dredge
The lovely anarchic sensibility of painter Bill Hay is on show at fortyfivedownstairs, inviting visitors to join in the fun.
While other shows around town present a thesis for the viewer’s interpretation, Hay has his slogan printed on a document for all to see.
Twenty gouaches on paper take advantage of the fluidity of paint and ideas, drawing on images from birds at Royal Park to old typewriters with attractive innards and black keys.
Hay taps vigorously on his keyboard, enjoying the syncopated rhythm of the words “All work and no play” as they appear in ironic letters on his inner screen.
“I read Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman in 1980,” he says. “There’s a character in the book who mixes a colour that has never been seen before. I’m attempting to do the same thing.”
Tertiary colours are mixed twice. “You have to select and choose, not allowing the tube to select for you,” he said. “You have to make the decision on colour relationships.”
Hay and fellow-painter Cathy Drummond have a show at fortyfivedownstairs in Flinders Lane every two to three years. “I think it’s the best space in Melbourne,” Hay said. “It’s the architect’s equivalent of the Golden Mean.”
Drummond’s painting records all of the detail but her material is nostalgia for the door has closed on Sam Bear’s, according to the internet.
Mary Lou Jelbart, the artistic director of the gallery, first met Hay as a young anarchist artist when she was on St Kilda City Council. “He made me feel nervous,” she told the crowd at opening night.
Bill Hay and Cathy Drummond are showing at fortyfivedownstairs until October 22.