THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
2011, Oil on Linen, 90 x 168cm
Finalist, The Wilson Art Award 2012
"Suburbia" Wyndam Art Gallery, Werribee 2012
Finalist, The Whyalla Art Prize 2011
Cars and commerce have always been a natural and unholy alliance. Yet in the 50’s the heir apparent to Myer, Ken Myer, along with his uncle Norm, decided to further the interests of their family business by giving this alliance a significant leg-up.
They got themselves elected as presidents of the two leading planning bodies, and with a mission to remodel Australian cities along US lines, together sponsored a procession of US experts who advocated freeways as the only way forward.
In 1964 there was something of an ideological showdown. Two imported consultants; Europe vs America; public transport vs freeways; self-deprecation vs ingratiating slickness. Selling himself as a “traffic doctor” who would “unblock the city’s clogged arteries, “the American said exactly what his hosts wanted to hear: that “banning cars in the city was like stopping the blood flow to cure a thrombosis”
Needless to say, the US model was adopted and the country embarked upon a freeway building program that continues to this day - determining for generations to come the sprawl that defines our cities, and in turn, dictates the way we live our lives.
Studies have shown that traffic expands to match the available roads. As such, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, always expanding, always choked. At the crucial fork, Australia chose the more travelled road, to arrive at The Road Less Travelled.