Lots of Problems can be Solved with a long walk
Garry Trinh, by Con Gerakaris
For Garry Trinh, lockdown evoked a mental paralysis he has felt only twice before. The first instance is almost universal: the stasis of waiting in an airport with your flight repeatedly delayed only to be cancelled and your retreat into a hotel room. The disconnection between mental readiness (“the first thing I’m going to do when I get home is…”) and the physical inability to progress in your journey or even go out for fresh air. Just simply waiting.
The second experience is specific and personal: Garry’s two weeks in Luxor, Egypt. Opting out of the typical three-day tourist whirlwind he sought to explore the city by foot and camera in hand. Garry’s photographic practice began as a method of documenting graffiti before a piece was bombed or tagged and soon found a meditative comfort in having a camera on him and possessing the ability to capture a moment on a whim. Through a combination of his chameleonic persona, attentive eye, sense of humour and innate ability to seemingly always be in the right place at the right time has resulted in idiosyncratic photographic works highlighting the inert mundanities of suburban life with playfulness and wonder.
Unfortunately in Luxor his fly-on-the-wall practice was not so covert and faced a barrage of undesired attention from opportunistic locals, causing Garry to grow weary of the mental strain of exploring the city and once again retreating to a hotel room.
Created during lockdown Lots of Problems can be Solved with a long walk demonstrates Garry wrestling against an instinct of retreat. He took solace in photography during the forced upheaval of daily routine. Selected from a plethora of images the photographs that form the basis of his new work are directly and indirectly reflective of the experience of life during a pandemic. Some subject matter is overt–we all have those ubiquitous footpaths encountered daily during our 5:30pm walk we never wish to see again–while other pieces saw Garry challenge his practice from a personal and technical position to photograph abstracts such are resilience, change, comfort and permanence.
His breakthrough came in the editing room. “I’ve been thinking a lot about templates,” Garry told me. Since establishing a painting practice, he has been relearning his relationship to the creation and reproduction of images. Lessons have been learned the hard way: there is no undo function for a brush stroke on canvas and you must go where the painting will take you. His template concept stems from a desire to mitigate error while having a modular-like setup providing the ability to experiment with colour and material yet retain a recognisable result. Garry cited Jason Revok’s spray can device paintings on this: “I wish I invented that.”
Previous experiments with painting on or disassembling photographs often felt almost sacrilegious, but the digital manipulation found in this new body of work was natural. The added gestures are emblematic of a new approach to expanded photography for the artist. Garry’s new work is layered with shapes and symbols removed from their compositional context and transmuted into fragments of light and colour. The shards are reminiscent of accidental print misalignment, another long-time fascination for the artist, yet demonstrate a nuanced recognition for patterns stemming from a deep understanding of the medium.
Lots of Problems can be Solved with a long walk are available for individual purchase as A2 Lambda c-type prints at cost price with delivery.
Garry Trinh is an artist working in photography, video, painting and works on paper. He makes art about the uncanny, unexpected and spontaneous moments in daily life. He is perplexed by the perception of artists as coffee-drinking loafers who work whenever they feel like it. He doesn’t even drink coffee. His works are about a way of looking at the world, to reveal magic in the mundane. He is never bored and never late.
Con Gerakaris is a curator, arts administrator and writer based in Sydney. He is interested in facilitating artistic investigations into the relationships between people and places, both physical and digital, and how to navigate the changing landscapes we inhabit. Con’s curatorial practice often wrestles with personal and cultural identity, the symbiosis of humans and architecture and questioning the methods of exhibiting digital art in a gallery.
4A Digital is a platform for creative and academic exploration, giving artists, writers, academics and professionals the opportunity to experiment and investigate concepts and ideas outside of the exhibition and published journal formats.