Elizabeth Street is a noisy trading hub for the avid motorcyclists, a gadget Mecca for the photography aficionados, and a concentrated venue of robust Asian eateries. Yet amidst the blaring retail stereo and ostentatious electronic devices, sits an oasis of non-conventional arts and an exhibition platform for all things lowbrow and underground. Outre Gallery is the custodian of the eccentric and iconic. It is a podium for the alternative movement and a rigorous advocate of pop surrealism.
Outre Gallery houses a collection of smashing artworks embedded with hidden codes and messages. Some audaciously poke fun at the mainstream cultures and social conventions; some gleefully display their dark humour and sarcasm camouflaged beneath the gorgeous and innocent façade.
The discerning eyes will immediately recognize the inimitable mid-century art style of the prolific Shag. Utilizing highly intensified saturated colours, Shag’s artworks are a manifestation of swankiness belonging to the high-end society: distortedly skinny men in their tight-fitting tuxedo dinner suits, women of curvy shape draped in leopard spot dresses, stylish bouffant hairstyles, sleuth-looking black kittens, sexy stiletto heels and classy martini glasses. The paintings are a series of unashamed and unapologetic scenes of bitchiness, jealousies and scandals.
Next in the unmissable list is Mark Ryden’s twisted fantasy involving incredibly romantic wide-eyed girls, fairytale-like creatures, elaborate Elizabethan era costumes, nostalgic old toys, skeletons, and eerie-looking monsters. The paintings flirt with one’s innocence, spiritual beliefs and inner dark thoughts. Think stunning young girl with ash blond hair wearing outrageous outfit made of bloody red meats, strolling gracefully in surrealistically beautiful garden. Each composition is stunningly pretty and outright ridiculous, quietly yet sinisterly sneers at our assumed simplicity.
Other noteworthy artworks include the dreamlike Utopian community of miniature beings by the husband and wife duo APAK, Horitomo’s tattooed cats, Matte Stephens’s modern cities in flat perspective, playful retro illustrations by Derek Yaniger, and the deafening mysterious worlds created by Andy Kehoe.
249 Elizabeth St, Melbourne