FireWorks Gallery is excited to be presenting its forthcoming exhibition Anthony Lister: The Flower Show. Born 1979 in Brisbane, Lister studied fine art at Griffith University Queensland College of Art and later in New York City under mentor Max Gimblett. Lister explains, “The first rule of painting is to take everyone else out of the equation. I am the viewer, so I don’t underestimate my viewers. They see everything and I just have to assume that they are me. I can’t paint for anyone else.” Late last year, Michael Eather, FireWorks Gallery Director, visited Lister’s studio in Sydney, “I was immediately impressed by the suitcases full of sketch books and A5 journals which showed the artist’s compulsive, consistent, obsessive documenting discipline”. Anthony Lister: The Flower Show presents ten works: Marilyn Van Gogh Fuck Flowers Painting 1 to 5, and Fuck Flowers Painting 1 to 5. These large (FW18207, 18209, 18211) and small canvases medium include acrylic, charcoal spray paint, graffiti removal, oil stick and krink ink. Lister is also completing two sculptural works for the Brisbane opening.
In relation to this exhibition, Lister comments on references to contemporary art history, “Van Gogh was a delusional, antisocial sociopath, I can relate to that. Andy Warhol was a psychopath, I can also relate to that… It is agreed though they both made some very good paintings while they were alive… I have (for the sake of history and conversation) created a series of amalgamation paintings that celebrate the genius of both Van and Andy by unifying the qualities I am most attracted to of each.” Lister’s 2012 portrait Van Gogh Sunflowers was exhibited at New Image Gallery in West Hollywood; this homage to Van Gogh was created with spray paint and Lister’s signature mass-appeal street style.
Lister has had successful solo exhibitions worldwide including: West Hollywood 2012, New York 2014 and Sydney 2017. The artist has also participated in group exhibitions most recently in Melbourne, London, Miami and France. Art Bank Australia, National Gallery of Australia and BHP Billiton are just three major collectors of Lister’s work. Gingko Press recently published a 192-page artist book Anthony Lister – Adventure Painter. In 2010, Art Collector Magazine named Lister as one of Australia’s 50 most collectable artists.
By the age of seventeen, Lister was a known Brisbane street artist. In 1999, Brisbane City Council (BCC) first encouraged Lister to participate in a public art project to paint over 120 of the city’s traffic signal boxes. Over a decade later, in 2014, this same council took Lister to court on graffiti-related charges across Brisbane: two walls in Fortitude Valley, a Paddington skateboard park wall and Elizabeth Street CBD (steel garage door and firehose box). Lister was found guilty of wilful damage over these paintings; David Hinchliffe, former BCC Deputy Mayor stressing, “We’ve got to distinguish between tagging and the sort of work Anthony does… tagging is out-and-out vandalism. Anthony doesn’t tag – he paints and he signs his name.” (Purtill, J. 2016, March 22. Anthony Lister versus the Brisbane City graff squad. ABC.) The artist’s BCC story is partly relayed in Have You Seen the Lister’s, a recent documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Eddie Martin that premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2017. Whilst undertaking research for the film, Martin was told by Lister that he had a collection of some 750,000 video files on his hard drive. This reinforces Eather’s earlier observation. Lister’s high and low culture clash public art has also gained international momentum including: a public mural in conjunction with Soho’s L.I.S.A project, and a sculptural installation at The Standard Hotel in the Meat Packing district, both in New York City.
Lister’s street and gallery art continues to display a range of subjects in both abstraction and figurative manner; he is fond of mutating forms and subject matter in his work, through an ongoing theme from mashed up Superheroes to Ballerinas with crocodile heads, flowers and so on. The artist comments, “A wise old lady once told me: ‘In your twenties, you are just meant to find out what is it that you LOVE doing. In your thirties, you are supposed to apply yourself to that which you LOVE to survive. And in your forties, if you haven’t done what you were supposed to do in your twenties and thirties then you’re fucked’.” In late December, Lister popped into FireWorks Gallery’s converted warehouse and, to announce this forthcoming exhibition (in the Gallery’s 25th year) he effortlessly painted the gallery’s black roller door.
Exhibition Opening: 23rd March, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Image: MARILYN VAN GOGH F***FLOWERSPAINTING 1, 195 x 175cm