The intricate dreamscapes of artist Kevin Chin up-end the everyday. Here’s why you might like to see them at Town Hall Gallery from 8 May.

Kevin’s a local who exhibits internationally

Daily walks along Gardiners Creek serve as inspiration for this Boroondara local. ‘It really triggers different memories of places I’ve been elsewhere,’ says Kevin. ‘It’s almost a walking meditation, it allows me to open my mind and that’s really generative for my work.’ ‘The Long Way’ refers to ‘taking the scenic route’. Curators have borrowed Kevin’s paintings from collections throughout Australia to meet this exhibition’s theme of journey and transition.

And this is his biggest show so far

‘I’ve been curated into 2 group shows at the Town Hall Gallery before, so it’s been amazing to be invited to occupy all 3 of the main gallery spaces,’ says Kevin. ‘It will be the largest showing of my paintings to date, so to have it here, where I live, couldn’t be better.’ The exhibition will feature new works and others never shown in Melbourne. His artworks are BIG too. Follow Forever, commissioned by City of Boroondara for this exhibition, measures almost 6 square metres.

Anticipate the unexpected

Kevin turns traditional landscape painting on its head. Town Hall Gallery senior curator Stephanie Sacco explains: ‘Horizon lines shift, mountain tops and trees are inverted, skies meld with seas, built structures slip away into oblivion.’ Pictorial elements are juxtaposed too: a full clothesline drapes in front of a mountain range, a hard-hatted worker tinkers on a ladder where the sky should be, spring-time cherry blossoms fringe a creek that melts into mounded snow – topped by a fluffy shiba inu dog in a fluoro jacket.

Alongside old-school technique

The artist pieces together fragments of photos from his travels to form his composition. Then he goes ‘old-school’, working in oils on Italian linen. He builds up the image in layers as he balances elements of the composition. The process is slow and meticulous – each work takes 2 to 3 months to paint. 

The delight’s in the detail

Get up close to a Kevin Chin painting and you’ll find much to reward you. He has experimented over many years, combining unexpected pigments to give a shimmering effect you will only see in person. Then there are the fine details that invite and intrigue. ‘One of the things I love about paintings is they are inherently portals in themselves,’ says Kevin. ‘Within my paintings I always include little moments, little vignettes that take you to another place.’

Intrigued? Delve deeper 

You can gain a deeper understanding of ‘The Long Way: Kevin Chin’ by taking part in an artist-led exhibition tour on 11 May, or a curator-led tour on 27 July. You’re also welcome to join us for the official opening on Saturday 11 May. The opening and tours are free, but bookings are essential.

Inspired? Try your hand

Kevin uses collage as a starting point for his paintings. Artist Nicky Tsekouras will run our Painting with Collage workshop on 21 May. It explores different approaches to making a landscape collage. Or you can join our Fantasy Landscape Illustration Workshop on 18 June. Tickets for each are $60, or $48 concession. 

‘The Long Way: Kevin Chin’ is on at Town Hall Gallery from 8 May to 28 July. Find out more on our 'The Long Way' exhibition page

Image credit: Kevin Chin, detail from 'So Inclined', 2024, oil on Italian linen, 138 x 199 cm, image courtesy of the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney.