In October 2009 the organizers of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival contacted Gould Galleries asking if artist Jeff Martin could do something special for the 2010 festival. At the time Jeff was busy with Back of House – Sydney, a major exhibition featuring 15 of Sydney’s best restaurant kitchens. With such a short time frame before the March festival he came up with an idea – large works on paper, capturing Melbourne's unique café culture with each work to be drawn in situ. To this day no one is sure where the number 40 came from, but the task was set.
Arriving back in Melbourne in November Jeff went straight to work asking strangers, friends and family about their favorite coffee venues. The list evolved, starting with some obvious and iconic Melbourne institutions, then shifting to the discovery of more obscure and secret locations. Interest in the project evolved as people started to notice this bloke sitting in the corner of each café sketching.
Despite the December Christmas break, where many cafés close and a deadline which had to incorporate framing and photography, the exhibition ‘Café Society’ opened on the 13th of March 2010 at Gould Galleries.
The café series is a moment in time, a snapshot of Melbourne's café culture. This work was a small departure from the Back of House series, yet still deals with the concepts of space and movement that Jeff is so passionate about.
All 40 works featured in this book are Ink wash on paper 76 x 56cm in portrait or 56 x 76cm landscape.
Back of House Published June 15, 2011