Reg Mombassa’s 24th exhibition, Simplicistism III: Shadowland contains his iconic cartoon-like imagery with distinct sardonic tones that harken to our seemingly dystopian, surveillance reality. Characterised by his emblematic Robot with Australian FJ Holden grill as mouthpiece, this exhibition talks to both domestic and global political themes like, economics, climate change, the pandemic, alpha-male egocentricity, totalitarianism vs. democracy, racism, sexism, and an abundance of other isms.
Reg openly admits to erring on the cynical end of the cynic/optimist spectrum and does so comfortably. This exhibition contains many landscape pieces – not intended to offset the mordant themes – all though, Reg concedes they likely do.
In this exhibition, Reg has ventured into new territory featuring monochrome, ink-washed works only recently experimented with over the past few months.
In a word, this exhibition is comprehensive, containing its own manifesto that is as humorous as serious, with only one commandment: Be Kind. At its core, the manifesto calls to step away from radical change, knock it back a few gears, and slow down the lightning rate at which capitalism is accelerating at. The desired outcome being improved mental health outcomes for global populations.
Reg admits to always having grandiose ambitions of global leadership and uses Trump’s incompetency as a landmark to leverage his ideology of simplicistism from.
Reg is very much a titan of the Australian contemporary art scene and this exhibition is a demonstration of his decades of experience. It is thought-provoking and funny, trenchant and light-hearted, disturbing and sophisticated; this exhibition is a much-needed response in answer to our complicated and complex realities and will not disappoint.
May 8-Jun 6. Rogue Pop-up Gallery, 130 Regent St, Redfern. Info: www.roguepopup.com.au
By Jarrod Wolfhunter