Gold Coast City Gallery & University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery 2014

15 February – 30 March 2014, Gold Coast City Gallery
12 June – 16 August 2014, University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery

In the era before motels and resorts, a holiday at the Gold and Sunshine coasts usually meant either pitching a tent and camping by the beach or staying in a simple cottage owned by family or friends.  Simplicity, informality, individuality and increasingly a design that acknowledged a connection to outdoor living were the hallmarks of these humble places. At a time now when rapid change to the urban fabric of the Coasts is taking place, a few of these buildings remain, and hold with them, many layers of memory of this holiday history of relaxation and escape.  Fibro Coast aims to creatively re-engage with the cultural, artistic, and architectural and design legacy of the humble fibro beach house, and through the work of artists and architects allows us to take another look at these quiet and disappearing places.

blue print

“Blueprint” 2005

1500 x 1000mm

mixed media on canvas

BLUEPRINT represents the absurd pressures brought on by seachange in my hometown of Coolum during the 70’s and 80’s and is a key image from my COODABIN-SHOODABIN collection, exhibited in 2005 at University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery. ‘Could-have-been-should-have-been’ is a metaphor for what most people discuss about change.

Many works from the collection, including BLUEPRINT, directly reference the view from my family’s Coolum Terrace holiday-house. Our Queenslander, one street back from the beach, was on the northern end of a hill-line that is geographically a natural amphitheater facing the open sea, all the way to Noosa. Locals reacted badly to the unrestrained development of the time, especially during the 3 -10 year construction phase of the highrises. I was always a suspect for protest graffiti. To document views gradually being blocked out I began to obstruct my seascapes with chopped up photocopies. In 2003 I drafted BLUEPRINT from a 1981 drawing created during the building of the first highrise in front of our home. To demonstrate the brutal impacts and dis-empowerment we were all feeling at the time, I glued a stark black and white photocopy of the highrise over my drawing to portray it as an alien monster menacing our beach. That same year, the release of Star Wars at the Coolum Cinema indicated this rising edifice was visually like a crashed spaceship. By 2005 I had returned to site many times to establish new perspectives that would overlay my 1981 point-of-reference for BLUEPRINT. I initially chalked in the new unit blocks and later decided to leave them as box outlines to express my community’s on-going disappointment. The use of violet (ghost) lines, middle-ground, are lost landmarks like the shark tower, picnic shed or missing Norfolk pines.


Blair McNamara framed photographs from his 2005 Coodabin Shoodabin exhibition. In October 2013, University of the Sunshine Coast acquired nine of his original photographs of Coolum during the 80’s. Director of the Art Gallery of University of the Sunshine Coast, Dawn Oelrich says, “Since Blair’s stand-out 2005 “Coodabin-Shoodabin” art exhibition we have acquired some of his most quintessential artworks for our collection. His work is typically a cultural map of Sunshine Coast evolution”.




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