There are no epic vistas or sublime sunsets in Dick Frizzell’s latest series of landscapes. The subjects in Up the Road are intentionally somewhat unspectacular. They are familiar, belonging anywhere; his farm gate could be my farm gate, it could be your gate, if you have a farm. Although there is a hint of that Frizzellean naivety, the new works are too “good” to fall strictly into his self-proclaimed “bad landscape” genre. These works are the result of the Man on the road; noting the landscape’s attractions and distractions as he goes, before working them into these wondrous (albeit at times awkward) homescapes. He takes no prisoners in defending his portrayal of everyday environments in this manner; Frizzell has long since distanced himself from the critical fraternity.
Fittingly, Up the Road is a traveling exhibition that has morphed along its way. It began in the Hawkes Bay in 2014 then, via Wellington, and with several additions and omissions, it comes to fruition in this stop of the tour.
I came up with the idea of a traveling show a couple of years ago. A show of paintings of the road… going on the road…moving round the country from gallery to gallery, being refreshed as it rolled along, hopefully, selling on the way. I was looking for some sort of continuity in my insanely erratic life.
I kept them small and intimate deliberately, trying to get out from under the huge, complicated compositions I seemed to have painted myself into a corner with. The idea worked well for two exhibitions before the plan started to go off the rails…off the road. I began to be distracted by the view to the left and the right of the way ahead. You know…you leap out of the car with your camera…stand, stretch and look around you…boom. And then, for various reasons, some of these aspects cried out for more scale.
So here we are…back on track…on and off the road… (Dick Frizzell on Up The Road, February 2015)