"I want to touch it," in the 45minutes that I spent wandering Sydney's Michael Reid Gallery perusing Alesandro Ljubicic's latest show of incredible painted works, I must have heard those five words uttered by at least twelve different people. This is because Ljubicic's highly textured paintings swirl and burst from the canvas in all directions as if iced in a thick, voluptuous cream, calling you to touch them. You know you can't (and shouldn't), but the effect of the intensely layered oil paint appears so sensually, holding back is hard. So you just stare in awe.
"Everything starts with colour," says the 29-year-old of his practice, gesturing to his colour studies, smaller bold works that bulge off the wall (pictured) above. These studies are housed in Perspex boxes because they are layered with so much paint, they can take years (!) to fully dry. It's lucky then, that the National Art School grad also owns and runs the Sydney Art Store in Sydney's inner east, because this is not a practice that comes cheap, but once you get close to each of these works, you'll see why he does it. The effect is almot mouth-watering.
For his latest show, The Scent of Painting, Ljubicic has created a 360 degree experience by collaborating with Sydney florist Mr. Cook, Brisbane perfumery Damask Perfumery and Edinburgh-based bespoke scarf manufacturer Kmossed, The result is not your regular run-of-the-mill art show, but an immersive and intimate experience of explosive, indulgent floral paintings, breathtaking bouquets, a lingering unique magnolia-centred fragrance and a line of limited edition scarves (the latter two are also for sale at the gallery alongside the works). "In essence, I am creating a multi-layered experience," says the artist. "[One] that provokes all the senses and moves beyond the canvas." Just remember, no touching.
Alesandro Ljubicic,The Scent of Painting is on at Michael Reid Gallery until February 27. Michaelreid.com.au