Anthony Bartok’s creations are quirky and pointed comments on contemporary society.
Bartok creates minimalist sketches which incorporate text to wittily pinpoint the foibles and contradictions of modern life. His simple lines draw on cartoon imagery and combine it with the colouring book and the internet meme fetish to produce work shaded in black humour and irony.
These screen prints range from the political to the poignant. For example, a black and white outline of Australia with a hastily drawn fence is a pointed barb at racist attitudes. In another scene, a multicoloured crowd queue under the ubiquitous Apple logo, the caption reads, “Everyone is very excited about the new phone. It is slightly different from the old phone.”
Bartok’s collection is also a wry and sardonic tour through the devastation that consumer obsession causes on relationships. In one sad piece, a youth, fixated on his phone, sits on the bed of an old man. The title is, ‘Jason visits his grandfather’.
In addition there are larger works of superimposed line drawings which merge and separate in a miasma of confused and tangled threads. These are a confounding visual illustration of the constant stimulation and bombardment of modernity.
Compelling, provoking, but never too confrontational, these small slices of the everyday are an artistic satire created with intelligence and aesthetic care. They are thoughtful, funny and truthful reflections on the narcissism and selfishness, the loss of community and the celebration of the individual which typifies 21st Century life. (LR)
Apr 6–May 1. MOP Projects, 2/39 Abercrombie St Chippendale. Admission Free. Info: mop.org.au