'Romancing the Streetscape' is a new group exhibition celebrating the streetscapes, parks, and buildings iconic to Melbourne. The exhibition is showing at Hawthorn’s Town Hall Gallery from Wednesday 18 January to Saturday 15 April.

The exhibition features work from:

  • Rick Amor
  • William Breen
  • Andrew Browne
  • Mark Chu
  • Robert Clinch
  • Cathy Drummond
  • Dani McKenzie.

Their paintings reveal unique perspectives of urban existence and our shared experiences of place within this community. Highly realistic and evocative images of inner-city scenes reflect the romanticism often associated with traditional landscape painting. The resulting portrait of Melbourne is both endearing and surprising, encouraging us to appreciate the metropolis around us and the overlooked in the everyday.

To book tickets to the public programs curated as part of the exhibition, visit our Exhibitions and visual arts page.

About the artists

Dani McKenzie

Dani McKenzie creates moody, atmospheric night scenes where the mundane of the everyday is infused with mystery. Inspired by personal photographs and observations, her paintings are characterised by her perspective of the everyday, and the overlooked within the urban landscape. For this exhibition, Dani has been commissioned to create a series of paintings of urban landscape around Boroondara.

Dani has held several solo exhibitions in Australia including, ‘Evening’s Empire,’ MARS Gallery, Melbourne (2022). In 2019, Dani was awarded the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize in Melbourne.

Mark Chu

Multidisciplinary artist Mark Chu has been commissioned by Town Hall Gallery to create a series of new works for this exhibition, and he is excited to comb the streets of Boroondara for inspiration. Mark’s paintings focus on human subjects using colour, form, and texture to enhance psychological complexity, highlighting the artist’s duty as an observer of human life. Mark is interested in Glenferrie Road, in its many dimensions and eras, functioning from retail to corporate, local to multinational. Mark explains: “The contrast of shopfronts on Glenferrie Road tells the story of Boroondara as a place with both local institutions and an international culture. When I drive down this bustling high street, I can’t help but appreciate how Australia can seem like it’s changing while staying the same.”

Mark’s paintings have been exhibited internationally and have been photographed for The New York Times. In 2022, his portrait of his partner, author Nell Pierce, was highly commended at AGWA’s Lester Prize.

Rick Amor

Rick Amor is best known for his evocative paintings, concerning the passage of time, alienation, and disconnection, as well as for his works on paper, printmaking, bronze sculpture and portraits. In 1999 he was appointed the official war artist to East Timor by the Australian War Memorial, the first such appointment since the Vietnam War. He has been the recipient of several Australia Council studio residencies that have allowed him to work in London, New York and Barcelona.

On display will be a selection of Rick’s paintings from the last decade, featuring his signature muted pallet applied to streetscapes and buildings, and lone figures dwarfed by their urban surrounds.

William Breen

William Breen’s skill in depicting Victoria's regional landscapes and the distinctly Melburnian streetscapes of Fitzroy and Carlton results in images that speak of suspended moments, full of possibility and a heightened sense of awareness. Best characterised by the use of soft colouration and intricate, almost painstaking detail, his paintings are testament to a master’s skill of observation and spatial rendering.

William is exhibiting works that explore a mix of emotive architectural history and eclectic contemporary street art, seen through a meditative, sublime vision.

Andrew Browne

Andrew Browne has exhibited for over three decades, with his work included in significant surveys of contemporary Australian art. Since the 1980s, Andrew has developed a visual language drawn from both the natural and the man-made environment. With a specific interest in the phenomena of illumination, the poetics of the nocturne and happenchance of the everyday, he creates uncanny, strange or surreal moods through paintings that highlight both the artificial and subjective. On display is a series of paintings depicting urban textures of Melbourne in skilfully rendered, macro compositions.

Robert Clinch

Robert Clinch's opalescent egg-tempera paintings and beautifully hand drawn lithographs are expressions of a seemingly realistic, but fictional world. Robert is well known for depicting urban landscapes piled high with bricks, mortar and concrete, treated with a lightness and warmth to his works that comes from the egg tempera technique he uses. Many of Robert’s artworks have been acquired by major public, corporate and private collections.

Robert's lyrical realism speaks of loneliness, joy, humour and melancholy; of yearning, innocence, playfulness and whimsy; and observes the issues that arise from our impatience, injustice, negligence and relentless consumption of the planet. Major landmarks of the Melbourne’s skyline such as the MCG will be on display.

Cathy Drummond

Painter and printmaker Cathy Drummond has a keen eye for the everyday, as well as for the often small joys it can bring. Since the 1980s, she has been recording the urban landscapes of Melbourne in her realist style, building up in acrylic a social and spatial history of the town she calls home. Drummond's paintings record a past period of the inner-northern suburbs and its community, which is now altered not only by the march of time but also by the demographic force of the property boom.

Cathy explains: “For around thirty years I have been painting the buildings, shops and streets of everyday Melbourne, attracted by their colours and shapes, their cultural significance and particular character. In a rapidly changing urban environment, the painting becomes a record of a time – representing recent histories.” Cathy is exhibiting a number of paintings depicting urban scenes, including shop fronts and apartment blocks.

Image credit: William Breen, ‘Wet Paint’, 2020, gouache on paper, 47 x 70cm, image courtesy of the artist and Flinders Lane Gallery.