The current exhibition on at Traffic Jam Galleries is by two artists – Tracy Dods ( hers is called Upon Reflection ) and J Valenzuela Didi( his is called Ballad of the Daily Pilgrimage ) both artists who have exhibited at Traffic Jam Galleries before.

In Dod’s work we usually never see the faces of the people depicted , as they are facing away from the viewer (an exception to the rule is Intangible Assets) .While she lives just past the Blue Mountains , she is often in Martin Place researching and soaking up the atmosphere. She seeks to provide both a comical and sombre commentary on her subjects by re-contextualising lawyers, barristers and suited businessmen into the unexpected, expansive, bleached beach and coastal landscapes that are her trademark style . She is interested in light and reflection The men in her works symbolise government and big business power. Dods attempting to capture the various subject’s inner life .Her exhibition consists of

.Whitewash – where five besuited businessmen in bare feet stand right on the tideline at the beach. There is barely a cloud in the sky but Dodds also emphasizes the wonderful reflection in the water. What is also important is the row of beach huts on the left hand side of the painting ( another symbol of government and power perhaps ?)

WarmUp depicts seven people in the middle distance f the painting in black swimwear.The horizon line is at roughly the top 1/3 of the work and the painting is of the beach all white and rather foggy. The people are quite small in the work , dominated by the landscape and there seems to be a feeling of ‘us ‘ vs ‘them’ as one person is separate from them – or are they joining the rest of the group ?

Going Forward depicts two people (a couple facing parting and death?) with the sea depicted as delightfully dappled waves. Breakers shows two women in swimsuits in the middle of the painting with roiling, crashing waves behind them ( life’s pressures? ) Will they be caught and wrecked by the tide?

Surf shows two people fishing with hand nets at the edge of the water, while other people are specks in the water.

Shelter shows a suited businessman with a large red and white striped umbrella standing at the edge of the waterline against a very ominous grey sky.

Ire Ad Largum is a work where two bewigged barristers in billowing robes at the centre of the picture dominate the composition . There are light waves at the edge of the surf and the composition is cut by the horizon line at the top third of the painting defined by a long line of trees.

Contemplation is an almost all white piece, with a young woman in a green top and a long white skirt , carrying her shoes and walking right on the water line.

Constitutional is a crowd scene and shows many people walking along the beach to the huge city scape that occupies the centre of the work .

In Intangible Assets we see a tall bewigged barrister leading a group of small children in green headwear (insect masks? ) right along the water’s edge . While the sea is relatively calm you can still see the ebb and flow of the water.

In J Valenzuela Didi‘s exhibition Ballad of the Daily Pilgrimage we see how Didi explores life’s fluidity and uncertainty in everyday scenes of rather surreal stillness. – ‘ A place where signposts of human existence emerge as shrines that pay tribute to the passing of time. Forgotten factories, traffic signs and bridges, freed of purpose exist as divine monuments on a journey through this alien landscape. The new works in this exhibition tell tales of this voyage, they are a ballad of the daily pilgrimage.” – J Valenzuela Didi

Like Dods, J Valenzuela Didi has been a finalist and prize-winner in several prestigious art prizes .

Country Feedback symbolizes the barrier between town and country ( and possibly in this era of Covid, state borders ) with the boom lines of the train crossing up so we can cross- leading to an extended yellow field and ominous clouds. Isle and Port Song has a strong triangular composition because of the verticality of the barriers and how they are organized , but there is also a strong curve in the curve of the grey road barrier . Dry growth is contrasted with lush green vegetation creating a line about a third of the way up of the painting.

The Harvester’s Tune is a work dominated by portentous sky , showing a fence and silo on very dry ground . Have they been abandoned ? Misty Mountain Hop has a glorious pinky/purple sky ( sunset ? sunrise ?) behind the strongly defined both curved and straight lines of the cold heavy aloof highway.

National Anthem again features green vegetation contrasted with the strong lines of the train lines and the crossing barriers .

A Midnight Requiem features a phenomenal starry night sky , against which we see the strong diagonal lines of the pilons and silos.

North Country Blues is grey , cold and impassive – an anonymous highway with a single streetlamp against a grey sky.

Halcyon Hymnal is quite abstract in its grey tones .Is it at dawn or sunset ?

Industrial Sonata is another night scene – a curve in the road, a hard concrete silo and a highlit circular object are viewed through trees.

An arresting combined exhibition

The current exhibition by Tracy Dods and J Valenzuela Didi runs at Traffic Jam Galleries September 18 – 9 October 2020