About David Wadelton
Born in Terang, Victoria; David now lives and works in Melbourne. He studied visual art at Preston and Phillip Institutes in Melbourne, graduating in 1976 and 1982 respectively. Since the early 1980s he has exhibited extensively throughout Australia with regular solo exhibitions at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne. He is currently showing in the “Who’s Afraid of Public Space” exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne till the end of March, and his work can be viewed in collections throughout Australia including the Victorian and Australian National Galley’s.
As a young visual arts graduate in the '70s, Wadelton took long walks through Northcote and surrounds, shooting ''the most mundane things around'' - people walking or riding public transport, cars, shopfronts, billboards, footpaths, street signs, junk. ''I thought that if I photographed a bus stop or a milk bar or a laundromat I could maybe imbue it with a sense of mystery, which didn't really happen at the time,''
In time his painting overtook photography, but he continued to shoot street scenes around Melbourne, and occasionally pull out his old black-and-white images, until a ''sense of mystery'' did emerge 35 years later! The seed was planted for Icons of Suburbia, in 2011, when he found that the photographs had taken on a new life that captured a city that no longer exists.
"His photographs present a compelling account of contemporary life and the urban condition in inner-city Melbourne – preserving the past whilst simultaneously registering the transformation and gentrification that has occurred over the past decades, as a result of changing demographics and patterns of migration, technological and industrial change, the flight of industry and the arrival of information and service economies which characterise the post-Fordist economic era. Collected in publications including the recent Small Business, (M.33 Books, Melbourne, 2021), Wadelton’s photographs speak volumes about the social and urban history and transformation of inner-suburban Melbourne, its architectural heritage, changing styles and social mores, personalities and protagonists”.
Max Delany Who’s afraid of Public Space
In 2016 David was commissioned to document Lalor and surrounds for the Cultural Collection, in particular Station Street and May Rd shopping area. He photographed a number of the houses in nearby streets that were built as part of the well-known Peter Lalor Home Building Cooperative 1946-2012. These homes are disappearing as urban density increases and the modest homes are demolished, and townhouses are built onto the blocks.
These photographs are now held in the City of Whittlesea Cultural collection, and we have recently created a page of the digital works we have on the Arts Website for all to enjoy.
Max Delany Who’s Afraid of Public Space?”