Every so often there is an artwork that you just instantly connect with. The connection cannot be attributed to just the color, the composition or the subject matter. Instead, it’s the spirit of the painting, something special caught within each careful brush stroke that truly captivates you. Hugo Mathias’s series new to KAB Gallery exude an unparalleled sense of nostalgic Australian spirit. T Sauce, a painting of the humble Masterfoods Tomato Sauce squeezy sauce bottle was a piece that captured my attention above all others.
I grew up as a Weet-bix kid with Vegemite smeared generously on my sandwich, Minties in my pocket and tomato sauce squeezed and splattered over everything that I ate (and all over me, much to my mother’s dismay). Mathias’s colour saturated representation of the iconic Australian condiment recalls sun soaked memories of my childhood. The vibrant red and gloss of the bottle transports me to a time when my small hands could barely hold a sausage sandwich, overflowing with the rich red tomato sauce as I followed the weighty thump of my dad’s work boots through the never ending isles of Bunnings. The playful & joyous style conjures memories of a hastily drawn smiley face of tomato sauce on a piece of devon as I made my sandwich, rushing to the school bus. Although the sauce bottle lays flat and empty in this stunning painting it still oozes a sense of familiarity, nostalgia and a sense of home.
The fresh and youthful perspective Mathias brings by juxtaposing two contrasting styles in the one piece encourages you to look a little closer, and to appreciate more than just the squashed bottle that lay before you. Instead T sauce encourages you to look a little deeper and glimpse through to the meaning and stories that linger behind.
It is as if Mathias’s work is a window to the memories of yesteryear, bringing a smile to the face of each viewer as they recall their own memories and stories surrounding this simple sauce. Mathias’s creative representation of an unassuming piece of consumerism portrays not just the personal narratives of every other Weet-bix kid, but collectively it reflects the identity of modern Australia.
What is most special about T Sauce is that this unassuming and humble painting is so much more than just a beautifully executed and designed artwork. It is a reminder of every family BBQ, every game day and most importantly, it is a reminder of home.