In the lead up to his highly anticipated solo exhibition Return to Slow, I caught up with Sydney painter Max Berry in the studio to get a gist of what to expect with this new work.

Looking forward to seeing this new body of work from you bud, I know it’s been over 12 months in the making. What can we expect this time round?

It’s certainly been on the boil for a while now. The build up has allowed for some more exploratory mark-making and a general loosening up. It’s mostly my landscapes, but also some still life this time around. I’m super happy with the results.

You took a couple of months out earlier in the year to head over to Europe, was this business or pleasure?

A bit of both actually. I’d been selected for an artist residency program in Ireland so I dinked a holiday on top of that. I managed to shoot a bunch of rolls, and catch up with some other artists and curators overseas which is always really positive. When I returned home I was totally ready to get stuck in, and spent some big time out in the studio.

Sounds great. Did you find the new landscapes as inspiration for your work?

Mind melting! Especially having grown up in Queenslandthe colours, the Atlantic and it’s energy—Europe really is a magical place. I’d have these moments of being completely dislocated and in awe as I was driving around the backcountry in this gutless rental car. I had a productive period and managed to post back a bunch of things that really informed this latest body of work.


Is there a lot more of a global approach for this series then?

Many of the works are based on real locations but I like to think they are addressing a more universal rhetoric.

Unlike some artists, who’d refuse to share images of their work until weeks before an upcoming exhibition, you keep people pretty well engaged with frequent updates of works in progress, inspiration and development. Are you comfortable that there’s still enough mystery in the end?

Oh yeah, I didn’t much think about it. I’m certainly not hiding anything and I’d like to imagine the digital image doesn’t really compare to the real deal.

For exhibitions past, I know you’ve always liked the idea of producing multiple works of all sizes coming together and telling a larger narrative. Are we in for something similar this time round?

That’s right, I guess I’m looking to create a sort of journey and the ‘many works as part of a larger narrative’ style approach allows the audience to explore pieces individually, and in turn create their own ideas as to how they’re all linked. In saying that, I’ve been working closely with Ed at China Heights to reduce the number of works and focus more on my practice, I’m confident this show is my best body of work to date.

Max’s exhibition Return to Slow opens this Friday, November 4th at China Heights.

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