Harley Manifold's exhibition "I know you heard me, but are you listening?" is opening at the Warrnambool Art Gallery this Friday night.
It marks Manifold's first major show in a gallery and the biggest paintings he's done.
One will usually find him in paint-splattered clothes in his studio on the second floor of the F Project in Warrnambool's city centre.
As he works, anything from hip-hop to minimalist electronic trickles out from the speakers - whatever he's feeling like at the time.
Manifold largely paints nocturnal landscapes with soft glowing lights.
"They're quiet, peacefully quiet," he said. "Some also have a slight edge of tension.
"Specifically the light in the paintings represent hope especially through the last 18 months.
"When I started painting them when moved to Warrnambool I thought I'd never done anything like it. When I step back I can now see it's a continuation of a theme I started a long time ago; I look forward to stepping back again in 20 years to see what the body of work looks like."
Manifold grew up in Camperdown, then moved to Geelong, Melbourne, Torquay and back to Warrnambool.
He describes his paintings as little postcards to himself.
"Before I moved back to Warrnambool I had all these figures inhabiting the paintings but when I got to Warrnambool the figures disappeared.
"It took me a while to realise the figures in the paintings were always me; facing the west as I moved away, always looking towards the sunset and to home.
"When I got here I realised I found home, and all paintings were little memorials and postcodes getting to know myself and home."
His portrait of fellow Warrnambool artist Gareth Colliton and landscape painting was selected for the Salon des Refusés Archibald and Wynne.
It's not Manifold's first time being selected for the Salon but he admits it's "pretty cool".
"It's incredible, I think the best bit of the painting was of Gareth as he martyrs himself for the art cause, which is not only a reflection of art but a great reflection of him as a person and all he does.
"It's great to see it recognised."
The second landscape painting selected, 'Buy some, let's ride the train together' is of a back country road at night with a car's headlights driving down it.
The empty road is illuminated by the headlights, revealing the faint outline of cypress trees.
Manifold jokes that he's "bulletproof" to criticism now but a younger him may not have been as impartial.
"I take it objectively; if they (the critics) said something really nasty you've got to question where that's coming from," he said.
"I feel my artwork is better than it's ever been; it's more honest and vulnerable."
His exhibition 'I know you heard me, but are you listening?' will open at 6pm on July 9 at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
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