Over the past few years I have been increasingly drawn to pubs – particularly country pubs and
the people who inhabit them. In this latest body of work, Paintings from the Front Bar, I have
spent many hours painting at the Bank Hotel in the town of Dungog. Close to my family farm,
Dungog is a special part of the world to me, so exploring the people that live and work in the
region seemed fitting.
It’s often a daunting experience, at first, to enter a country pub because you instantly stick out –
especially if you aren’t a proper local. I would often go to the corner or front bar, get my paints
out and order a beer, a VB, which often gets remarked on: “what do you drink that piss for?” I’d
give them a smile and get to work. The constant ebb and flow of people coming in and out of the
pub is always stimulating, making me work quickly and freely.
The pub’s a place to wind down. A place you can be quiet if you want to, or have a yarn.
Hearing snippets of conversations ranging from politics to mowing Mr. Graeme’s lawn. I often
chat to them too; ask them about their lives as they ask me about mine. All while moving the
paint around. In a world where talking to strangers has become rare, exacerbated by the current
pandemic and our ever-increasing virtual world, a simple chat can go a long way.
This series of works is about connection and reconnecting; capturing an ever-changing world
within the walls of a country pub.
Holly Greenwood is a Sydney-based artist, whose work is steeped in a uniquely Australian
sense of place. Since graduating from COFA in 2011, Greenwood has exhibited extensively
within Australia, gaining increasing attention as a contemporary Australian artist. In 2019
Greenwood was awarded the Hill End Residency, and was named a finalist in the Brett Whitely
travelling art scholarship in 2018 and 2017.