Sunday Arts Magazine

21 Feb 2021

Rone in Geelong

Art Collection, Art Exhibition, Arts Festival, Visual Arts

Rone in Geelong

Geelong Gallery
55 Little Malop Street
Geelong VIC 3220 Australia

Geelong Gallery
27 February to 16 May 2021

Geelong Gallery is proud to announce
the rescheduling of RONE in Geelong
following nationwide gallery closures
due to the COVID–19 pandemic.
The exhibition will now open on
27 February 2021.
Acclaimed for his major transformations
of abandoned spaces worldwide and
his sell-out installation, EMPIRE, at
Burnham Beeches in 2019, RONE returns
to his hometown of Geelong with his
first survey exhibition and a unique and
immersive experience set to delight
Over the last two decades, RONE
has built an exceptional reputation
for large-scale wall paintings and
entrancing installations that explore
concepts of beauty and decay. Geelong
Gallery’s presentation will include the
first comprehensive solo survey of
the artist’s career from early stencil
works and street art, to photographs
that document his transformation of
abandoned spaces (one of which will
be brought to life in a 3D recreation,
commissioned for this exhibition).
The exhibition will also take visitors on a
journey through a unique commissioned
installation, with RONE transforming one
of the Gallery’s most significant rooms
in response to the architecture and
history of the building, as well as the

Gallery’s permanent collection. A multi-
media experience will connect visitors

back into the urban environment where
the artist’s works have been painted in
abandoned properties.

For the commissioned installation,
RONE has taken inspiration from the
architecture of the Douglass Gallery,
one of the most historical rooms in
the building’s evolution. This room’s
scale and architectural and ornamental
features—such as ionic pilasters,
horizontal dado, and ceiling skylights—
have led RONE to consider the beauty
and grandness of the architecture of
earlier eras, and the inevitable decay of
spaces (when not valued and cared for).
Additional inspiration has come from
the highly decorative interiors of
Baroque grand palazzos in Venice, and
the traditions of trompe l’oeil painting
employed to simulate architectural
details. Working with interior stylist Carly
Spooner, RONE’s transformation of the
room from a grand reception venue to
a now derelict site, will incorporate his
signature painted murals and a haunting
new soundtrack by composer and
collaborator Nick Batterham.
The project has also seen RONE’s
re-engagement with a collection
he visited in his youth. Works such
as the Gallery’s iconic A bush burial
by Frederick McCubbin (1890) and
several portraits are referenced in the
installation, as are a number of early
landscapes of Geelong. The decorative
arts collection—and particularly the work
of local early 20th century china painter
Florence Royce—has inspired the
general colour palette of the installation.
Artist, RONE says ‘Working in my home
town is special. I had to leave to come
back, but Geelong Gallery has given me
the recognition to further my career; my
first institutional solo exhibition. Geelong
has done that for me’.

RONE continues: ‘My show is an ode to
abandoned spaces and a reminder to
value the original treasure they once
were. Influenced by the architecture
of the building and the toll of time,
the central installation preserves an
imagined moment of the space adorned
at its finest and left to slowly deteriorate.
Featuring a push and pull between light
and dark, viewers may be compelled
to either end of the experience but are
united in the same recognition of overall
decay. The damage has been done and
my installation invokes a longing for what
is lost and cannot ever return.’
Geelong Gallery Director & CEO, Jason
Smith comments ‘RONE in Geelong is
an ambitious exhibition and audience
experience that will celebrate the
integral connection between an
internationally acclaimed artist and
the city in which he was born and
raised. We hope to see RONE devotees
continue to celebrate his career and
new audiences visit the Gallery
to experience this exhibition and
Geelong Gallery’s Senior Curator, Lisa
Sullivan has been working closely with
the artist on this project, facilitating his
unique engagement with the collection
and in developing the survey exhibition.
Sullivan says ‘In a room transformed by
the ravages of time and neglect, ‘copies’
of iconic paintings and decorative
arts from Geelong Gallery’s collection
will populate RONE’s constructed
environment. A number of the original
works that RONE has been inspired by
will appear in our permanent collection
display just beyond the site-specific
installation, acting as aide-mémoires
of the visitor’s experience of the
installation. This exhibition will deliver
a very different encounter with our
collection, blurring the line between
reality and fiction whilst also celebrating

the outstanding career of a Geelong-
born artist.’

City of Greater Geelong CEO, Martin
Cutter says ‘It’s exciting RONE is
returning to his hometown for what will
no doubt be an eye-opening experience
for local fans and new audiences. This
exclusive Geelong Gallery exhibition
is expected to attract over 25,000
people to the region and contribute
approximately $3 million to the local
economy adding greatly to our Clever
and Creative City, which will be a
much-needed boost after an incredibly
challenging 2020.’
Through the support of Creative
Victoria’s Strategic Investment Fund,
Geelong Gallery will be extending its
opening hours during RONE in Geelong.
From Saturday 27 February to Sunday
16 May 2021, the Gallery will open
from 10am—7pm Monday to Saturday,
enabling a greater number of visitors

to enjoy the exhibition in a COVID-
safe environment and invigorating the

extensive of hospitality venues in Little
Malop Street and Central Geelong.
Ahead of Geelong Gallery’s presentation
of RONE in Geelong, Thames & Hudson
Australia published the first survey of the
artist’s work, titled Rone, in June 2020.
Tracing his career from the early days of
street art, stencil and screen-printing
through to his larger-than-life murals and
immersive installations, the publication
includes essays analysing the works and
anecdotal notes from the artist himself.


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