If you find yourself down in the Little Italy region of Darlinghurst this week, take five minutes out and pop into the Watters Gallery to check out the latest exhibition by artist Chris O'Doherty aka Reg Mombassa. The show, Coloured In, ran at fortyfivedownstairs gallery in Melbourne from June 28 to July 9 and is only showing in Sydney until Saturday. Unfortunately for us Sydney-siders, those Melbournites also had first dibs on the works so about 99 per cent of the show has already sold out.
But could you afford them anyway? The most affordable original works I saw started at $800 for a charcoal on paper, while a tiny 4.5x10cm oil on paper miniature, Headland, Maria Island (2010), sold for $1000. That's not to say that Mombassa/Doherty is unworthy of such prices. I love his work and hope to one day own one. The downstairs part of the gallery features the Mambo-style, cheeky and surreal works for which he is widely known, such as this piece, Mr and Mrs Wolfman (2010, charcoal, coloured pencil on paper, $8600):
There's also a hilarious work, Skeleton Having Sex With a Fence (2010, charcoal, coloured pencil and glitter on paper, $8000), which made me laugh out loud.
But also make sure you visit the upstairs space for the slightly softer, more whimsical landscapes, which are mostly created using oil paints. They are rather more melancholy and serious in mood than the downstairs works.
If like me you are a big fan of Doherty/Mombassa's works - and have read THE book on this special Sydney artist - you can always take home the $3 program, which features 18 images including a little treasure called Gum, Road and Fenceline (2010, oil on paper, $1600).
As its title suggests, it is a painting of a gum tree, next to a curved road lined with fence poles, backed by a big, cloudy sky and is one of those pictures that instantly brings to mind carefree memories of road trips in country NSW. I was also mesmerised by this mysterious night scene:
Chris O'Doherty aka Reg Mombasa
Until August 20, 2011
109 Riley Street
East Sydney NSW 2010
02 9331 2556
Tuesday, Saturday - 10am to 5pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - 10am to 7pm