Matthew Sleeth’s candid photographs evoke nostalgia for Australian summers

Acclaimed Australian photographer Matthew Sleeth’s Rosebud series will soak up the final days of summer on the walls of the Hawthorn Arts Centre, opening 20 January.

Sleeth captured the Rosebud images when visiting Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula from 2002–2006, usually during the first week of January when the popularity of the foreshore was at its peak. Shot on a medium format camera, the photographs provide a rich documentation of a quintessential Australian experience: summer holidays spent camping by the beach.

The photographs are bathed in the strong sunlight of Australian summers and evoke deep nostalgia for long, slow days and hot, sticky nights. Sleeth is well known for producing bodies of work in a practise that has evolved through several stages, with an undoubted ability to produce images of great romantic, emotional effect. This documentary photo project is all about the Australian sunshine. Sleeth plays with lovely bright ‘Kodachrome’ colours associated with holiday snapshots and postcard views.

Matthew Sleeth said: ‘Rosebud was the town where my family spent our summer holidays. We camped on the same site every year with the same neighbours until I was about 13, and like many things lost from childhood, the memories are still vividly clear. But the thing that always stayed with me was the light. The late afternoon light on the beach, through the trees felt endless.’

Alongside the Rosebud exhibition, the Town Hall Gallery will also feature works recently acquired for its Collection, by artists including William Ferguson, Robert Jacks, Dena Kahan, Louis Kahan and Helen Maudsley.

Spanning three gallery spaces, Town Hall Gallery features a diverse range of contemporary public programs, curated exhibitions including works drawn from the Town Hall Gallery Collection, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the City of Boroondara.

Image by Matthew Sleeth, Untitled #25. All images from Rosebud (2003-05), type C print, 123 x 148cm, © image courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery (New York). Donated to the Town Hall Gallery Collection through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program in 2017.

Walk and Talk

Join Town Hall Gallery curators and artist from the exhibition for a guided tour.

Saturday 20 January, 1-2pm

Wednesday 14 February, 11am-12pm

Free, bookings essential



20 January – 11 March 2018

Exhibition opening Saturday 20 January, 2–4 pm

Town Hall Gallery

360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn