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Subtopia: The Myth of Doyle, ABC Artscape, 2012


Adrian Doyle is the dynamic face of Melbourne's art world in Melbourne. He is part artist, part academic, part entrepreneur and part social activist. In 2008 he set up The Blender Studios as a co-op for street artists. Now he has opened the Dark Horse Experiment (DHE) gallery in partnership with the Dickerson family, scions of the traditional art world. Sales at the gallery's first solo shows are lacklustre, so Doyle reinvents himself as a commercial mural artist, scoring a major commission for a 45-metre mural on the banks of the Yarra. But the gallery continues to struggle and the co-op really needs Doyle's upcoming solo show to be a hit. Doyle goes back into the studio to pump out ten pieces. Doyle travels home to Frankston - the suburb of his childhood - to visit his long-suffering father and sick mother. Terrible tragedies have befallen the Doyle family - the accidental drowning of his nephew (Doyle left the pool gate open) and the foreclosure of his parent's home. However Doyle has succeeded in exorcising these tragedies through his art. Stephen Nall, who manages the DHE, is confident that Doyle's show will make an impact - his previous shows have sold out. But opening night tells a different story. Doyle wants to keep the prestigious gallery but his partner Piya is reluctant to keep anything that isn't making money and tempers fray. Maybe opening a gallery in a post GFC world was a little naive after all? Art, life and commerce. Something's got to give...


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