Your Past Is Not Your Present

Your Past Is Not Your Present

Kinokuniya is thrilled to welcome Sydney based artist Garry Trinh to Wedge Gallery. Well known as a photographer extraordinaire, Your Past Is Not Your Present reveals Trinh’s paintings in conversation with his photographs for the very first time. This exhibition has evolved from the Artist’s exploration of the medium of painting & through testing the limitations of his own photography as a vehicle for expression.

We had a chat with Garry to find out a little more about him, what he does and about his current show…


You’re a very established photographer, why the move to painting?

I had hundreds of ideas for art projects that I wanted to bring to life. Some of them communicated best in other mediums. I started painting to exercise ideas that weren’t suited to photography. I wanted to have conversations with painters and other artists.



What do think have been the biggest triumphs & challenges in putting brush to canvas for this show?

The biggest challenge was getting started. I stared at a blank canvas for a long time not wanting to ruin the pristine white rectangle. I learned that as soon as I applied paint I would need to keep applying paint until it was as good as the white rectangle.

Finding a subject matter to paint was also hard. I had to find something to paint that could hang beside the photographs in the show. It needed to mean something to me. I have never painted before. I had to teach myself how to paint watching Youtube videos.

I am used to working with digital mediums. Painting is the first thing I’ve done where there was no “undo” button. If a brush stroke is added to a canvas by mistake it is really, really hard to fix. I felt like I was taking a leap of faith every time my brush touched the canvas.


What is the significance of the title of the show?

The title is about moving forward and not having to live up to the things created in the past. Not allowing things from the past hold me back. It is also about photography’s relationship with time in a gallery setting, and painting’s relationship with the present.


Which piece are you most proud of making?

The piece I am most proud of making is the painting that looks like a skate park. I was hoping people would see it in more abstract terms but everyone I’ve spoken to just saw a skate park. I’m the one who is moving the brush around but some paintings have a way of telling you what they want to be.



What is your advice to other photographers considering branching out into another medium?

It’s a risky move. Good photographers have obsessive personalities. They need to be committed and have a laser focus in order to make good photographs. It’s risky because once the focus is lost the photographer may never find their groove back. Trying other mediums is something that could break the spell. At the same time, I don’t think anyone besides the artist really cares or is paying much attention so don’t dwell on too much and do it while no one’s looking.


Your Past Is Not Your Present is open in the Wedge Gallery until August 30th.

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