Free Candy Exhibition at M2 Gallery
When I got the email from my editor to look into the Free Candy exhibition I’d be lying if I said a part of me wasn’t hoping that I’d get to sample free candy. But if you’ve clicked on this link thinking the same thing, there’s no need to be disappointed because Alex Ruby’s artwork is more than good enough to help you forget the notion of free Strawberry Clouds in the first place.
Alex Ruby aka Mole Lester is a San Francisco native who is exhibiting his socially conscious urban artwork here in Australia for the first time. First thing’s first though, the title Free Candy isn’t so much a devious trap to ensnare unwitting lolly-lovers such as myself, but rather a hark back to Ruby being “known as the Free Candy dude to friends and strangers”, a nickname given to him by driving around with Free Candy painted on the side of his black pick up. He may be the son of Mormon artists and your typical Californian surfer but the upcoming Free Candy exhibition has a distinctly Australian feel to it. It wasn’t until coming to Australia that Ruby became really engaged with Indigenous Australian art that inspired him to investigate the colonial remnants of White Australia through his art. Ruby isn’t just a talented artist but also a tailor and surfboard shaper, and while they don’t overtly influence his artwork he mentioned that the forms have “different focuses and give a different view on the subjects”. Artistically, Free Candy has distinct echoes of the intensity and wit of Jean Michel Basquiat, and Ruby lists early Jackson Pollack as one of his biggest influences. Don’t be misled by the title – Free Candy may summon up the idea of innocence and irreverence, but Ruby’s work is as political and historically aware as it gets. Before you head to M2 Gallery this Friday, you can check out some of his other stuff here and on Instagram.
*Disclaimer: There will be no free candy at this event. Any customer dissatisfaction at the absence of a variety of sweet goods cannot hold Alex Ruby or Backyard Opera responsible. Please be respectful and BYO pick’n’mix.
Free Candy Exhibition Opening Night
Friday 18th July 6pm – 9pm
Shop 4/450 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills