Rob Howe – Of Course I Still Love You

28 November to 20 December 2019

Earlier this year I saw amazing footage of a rocket used to put spacecraft into orbit off Cape Canaveral in Florida. On its return to Earth, the rocket swung itself into a vertical position and lowered itself gently onto a landing platform on an autonomous spaceport drone ship commissioned by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. The name given to the vessel on which the rocket so softly landed, Of Course I Still Love You.

For the rocket returning from its mission in space, Of Course I Still Love You represents home. And for this body of work – taking as its subjects local children, houses and landscape – home is the common thread.

Most of the artworks in this exhibition feature scenes from within the vicinity of my home studio in the Illawarra, south of Sydney. I walk my kids to school and sometimes revisit familiar spots to make paintings. Beauty in painting for me is simple – delicious notes of colour, one put against another. I work because of the charm I find in these colour comparisons. And when I’m working, the subject of the scene is secondary. In this way, I think of painting in the same way I think about music; the process of perfecting how one tone relates to another tone. My paintings are in some ways similar to the pop songs I listen to in the studio as I work, in that they are contained expressions of a familiar tradition and form. Perhaps they are love songs, these colours I like to put together, despite my best intentions to avoid sentiment, and instead focus on the possibilities of the paint, the music.

Of Course I Still Love You represents what I see in my vicinity, what I like to pay attention to. These are ongoing themes in my paintings of recent years – my continuing infatuation with the colours and possibilities of local suburbia.