The Australian Centre for Concrete Art is mostly 2D paintings on walls and not sculpted concrete as the name may suggest—big formal paintings on the sides of houses and shops in the CBD of Fremantle, WA. The original aim of the participating artists was to create a clique and define a distinction between their painting and that of their perceived copycats. As the project got underway, they transcended their chummy elitism and focused instead on rewarding the everyday viewer’s glance—the public person who opens their car door and peers up to see a 16 x 16 metre painting. In a way, it started as slightly pervasive, but the actually paintings hold a dignified respectful presence.
The AC4CA is like an open hive of living paintings. They get painted over in time, but during their lives within the grid-like streets of downtown Freo the paintings pop out into the pedestrians’ view, resembling characters due to their serial similarity. There is the mothership, a colossal painting commissioned by Alex Spremberg in the form of a 6-storey car park with conceptually painted ceilings, floors, columns and walls. A painting that has to be driven to be believed. There is a topographical offset to the landscape that surrounds it, the commercial zone, the horizon of the Indian Ocean and the massive cargo ships with their huge paint jobs. This urban beautification is feel-good and surreal in that the entire district of Fremantle feels oddly activated by painters engaging the high with low.
Artists involved in the project are Pam Aitken, John Nixon, Trevor Richards, Alex Spremberg, Julian Goddard, Andrew Leslie, Jurek Wybraniec, Helen Smith, Jan van der Ploeg and Daniel Gottin.