Artist in the Spotlight: Anton Pulvirenti and Goomiland

Painting by Anton PulvirentiZest Artist Anton Pulvirenti has had an amazing start to the year.

In May, Anton graduated from the University of Sydney as a Doctor of Philosophy in Painting.  His thesis mainly focused on images of German World War I internees but grew to include a series of drawings based on his family’s experiences as immigrants in Australia during World War II and his Italian grandfather’s subsequent interment as an enemy alien in a prison camp.

The series has culminated in a exhibition entitled ‘Goomiland’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery in Sydney.  Anton describes the exhibition:  “It’s about being, belonging and Australian identity.”

The anthropomorphic images of Goomiland, featuring the human form with a head of a rabbit, represent the dehumanizing aspect of war.  “These drawings capture the stillness and alienation of the internment experience during the war. My daughter’s body is symbolic of innocence, the rabbit’s head is sort of a plague like pest which breeds and multiplies. The hare represents the fear of the immigrant which we certainly had here during the Second World War and if the other is not controlled, it may over run this land.”

The exhibition includes twenty pieces created on paper using ink and took a year to produce.  Accompanying the works is a twenty four page comic, a literal representation of that period in his family’s history.

Comic book by Anton Pulvirenti

Anton joined Zest  in 2007 and has produced impressive trompe l’oeil murals, 3D street paintings, illustrations, paintings, visual minutes, run workshops and produced live art at events for clients including Macquarie Bank, Yahoo!7, Nokia, Cycling Australia, Roche, State Library of NSW, Janssen-Cilag, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival,  Cadbury NZ, Harley Davidson and many more.

‘Working with Zest has enabled me is to use my imagination more than I would normally have, to invent things out of nothing in a short amount of time.  Creating these works involves a lot of perspective drawing, it tends to improve your observational drawing quite a bit. You get inside your mind and feel the way things sit in space, it’s made my drawing a lot stronger.”

rainforest mural

Anton has also performed on an international stage, in 2010 he was guest artist at the Qatar Marine Festival in Doha and in 2012 he travelled to Italy with fellow Australian Jenny McCracken to compete in the illustrious ‘Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari’ in Lombardy, Italy- the world’s original and most prestigious pavement art competition.  A documentary about their journey will be screened on SBS1 in September 2014. View the trailer for ‘CHALK: An Australian Perspective’.

The next stop for Anton?  Exhibiting some of his drawings in Berlin.

You can see ‘Goomiland’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery, 1/75 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay from Thursday 5th of June until Saturday 5th of July 2014.

Read more about Anton’s exhibition in ArtsHub.

To find out more about Anton Pulvirenti contact Andi Mether.