Australian artist Ben Frost is known for his kaleidoscopic Pop Art, mash-up paintings that
take inspiration from areas as diverse as graffiti, collage, photo-realism and sign-writing.
By subverting mainstream iconography from the worlds of advertising, entertainment
and politics, he creates a visual framework that is bold, confronting and often
In ‘The New Pollution’ Frost makes us question how the elements of popular culture and
advertising influence our everyday lives. Our urban environment is 'polluted' with the
banal detritus of our hyper-consumption in the form of logos, billboards, colourful
packaging and animated characters that aggressively compete to sell us endless sales
pitches, disposable solutions and discount lifestyles. In his work Frost creates a
reactionary dialogue against this pervasive and dictatorial experience, by
appropriating and re-contextualising the very icons that advertising feeds to us.
The title of this exhibition 'The New Pollution' reflects the unwanted advertising that
infiltrates our visual and conceptual environment. It also describes the artist’s
exploration of painting onto found objects and urban refuse - such as pharmaceutical
packaging, candy and cereal boxes as well as fashion bags, board games, vintage
stamps and ammunition packages.
Packaging is the quintessential and final form of advertising before consuming the
product it envelopes. By painting directly onto the flattened surface of a used
package, Frost not only engenders a statement of environmental recycling, but also
makes a self-referential statement about what was once inside it. Crying women on
Valium and Oxycontin packages reflect our quick-fix obsession with mental health,
graphic sexual acts on McDonald's fry boxes express our distaste for their product and
insane clowns on Chanel fashion bags metaphors for the lengths we go to look beautiful.
“The literal definition of 'pollution' is to: 'introduce a contaminant into a natural
environment to cause adverse change'. I see this as an overall metaphor for the
juxtapositions that I use in my work, where I take pre-existing icons and logos and
introduce opposing elements to create new dialogues.” - Ben Frost