Dwelling is an exhibition of new paintings by Michael Portley that visually comment on notions of land ownership and material entitlement. Portley’s exploration and focus on ideas relating to the controlled or transformed landscape are interspersed with a number of contemporary media-fueled topics that reflect society’s seemingly neurotic focus of a disjointed economic grab for wealth in Australian society by perceived classes. Portley riffs off this theme of residence and ownership and juxtaposes subjects and themes that critique the relative worth of material trappings against the intrinsic wealth of our environment, history, well-being and egalitarian mythology.
Portley also brings to visual attention the environmental impact of the wonders of economic growth and the unchecked mantra in the media of growth as vital to our survival. The works bring to the surface dark scenarios that are offset with optimistic whimsy and, in many cases, the guiding light of a few innocent savants of the animal kingdom; most of which are domesticated animals.