161 Heidelberg Road, Northcote
Opening drinks Thursday 7 December, 6-8pm
Mark Bo Chu’s Open Hours studies commercial environments as public commons. From bars to bookstores, vintage shops to fast food chains, this series of colourful, textured paintings consecrate moments in spaces inhabited by patrons. Customers and workers are portrayed with nonchalant indifference, familiar to their roles. Utilitarian props—credit card readers, loose furniture, delivery vehicles—enliven scenes with often overlooked symbolism. Exterior representations feature overt electricity lines, while bare interior surfaces are embellished through saturation. These effects enhance the dignified spirituality of zones as unholy as a McDonald’s carpark, imbuing shop materials like bitumen, plastic, timber, silicon, and glass with new meaning. But any sanctity comes with a sense of humour, and the self-awareness needed to capture the zeitgeist.
Mark Bo Chu’s art has been shown in Vice, ABC, SBS, The Australian, and The New York Times, and he exhibits regularly. He has written for The Good Food Guide, Time Out, The Lifted Brow, to Be and Good Sport. Chu publishes scientific research on computational cognition, and has recorded as a piano soloist with the MSO and WASO. Chu received the Highly Commended award for the 2022 Lester Prize, and holds a fiction MFA from Columbia University.
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