Patina Overload

Whimsy. Antique. Nostalgia. Vintage. These things are everywhere. Blame it on modern times, when houses are prefab and goods are made to break. Blame it on a shaky, unstable economy, on a shaky, unstable world view and a yearning for the ‘good, old days’ when you knew what was what and where things were going. Whatever the reasons, there has been an explosion of demand for all things old. Which has led – predictably – in this age when anything you want can be bought, to a supply of all things old. Some of these are truly old. But any number are fabricated to give this effect.

I’m not immune from this trend. I love old things, old clothes, old places. And I love them also when they have been ‘antiqued’ well. But the proliferation of things, clothes, places which profess to be old, but aren’t is becoming quite overwhelming. Sometimes, you just want a thing, a place which does what it says on the can.

Perhaps a vain hope in this post-modern (or is it post-post now?) society. But I was passing through Oakleigh, a Melbourne suburb, a few weeks ago and stumbled across a shop selling lawnmowers. It was a room, with a counter at the back, and about 10 to 15 lawnmowers laid out on the floor. Perhaps the prices were attached or nearby. But that was it. There was no artifice, no decoration, no frivolity. It simply did what it said on the can. And it was as if my overloaded eyes had drunk a cool, refreshing glass of clear, spring water.

These images from Queensland artist Natalie have caught something of my mood.


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