Hidden depths

Sharky is one of the artworks in the exhibition Blue Skies and Broken Hearts.

BEHIND every summer lurks a broken heart.

That is the bitter-sweet theme of Frans Bisschops new exhibition, Blue Skies and Broken Hearts.

“My main goal was to create new imagery of summer, especially a Perth summer. Images that were simple and fun on the surface, but a little uneasy and anxious underneath,” he says.

With more than a nod to David Hockney, Bisschops’ vivid paintings of sharks and sunbathers are slightly ambivalent and perturbing.

“Summer for me can be a happy time but it can also have a sadness to it; the beginning and end of relationships, the sadness and anxiety of climate change, especially living in Western Australia,”   Bisschops says.

“Also to me the beach and a Perth summer can be quite brutal – the sharks, the heat, the melanomas and the isolation, they’re all a bit of a worry.”

Blue Skies and Broken Hearts is the sixth solo exhibition by Bisschops, a self-taught artist who lives in Perth and works as a graphic designer.

“I often plan my paintings on screen and create the starting colour and compositions before I start.

“I always loved figurative art that could be reduced to simple shapes and compositions, such as the work by David Hockney and Edward Hopper or Australian artist John Brack. 

“As a designer I have also spent years creating logos and beer labels, so I realised the hidden challenge in reducing things to their most basic.”

Blue Skies and Broken Hearts is the first exhibition at Moores Gallery in Fremantle since it was closed because of covid-19 restrictions.

Most of Bisschops’ previous works have been dark and dreamy nightscapes, but Blue Skies has seen him go bigger, brighter and beachier.  

He says the fallout from the global pandemic could influence artists for years to come.

“For me especially as a father it made me question a lot of things currently happening in the world and what I can contribute to make it better,” he says. 

“I hope this exhibition is something that people of all ages can enjoy and get something from. There is a simplicity and joyfulness to the paintings that belies some of the heavier themes lurking below.”

Blue Skies and Broken Hearts starts next Friday (July 10) and is on until July 27.

BY STEPHEN POLLOCK

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