Backwoods Gallery
More than a gallery


Backwoods Gallery exhibit work by artists who have a background in street art and illustration, and provide a space for artists to present their work, on their own terms, without limitations.

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ILLUSIONS - A group exhibition curated by Tom Groves

  • backwoods gallery 5/25 easey st collingwood Collingwood Australia (map)

A group exhibition curated by Tom Groves

Trompe l’oeil: (French: “deceive the eye”) in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object.

The fascination of dreamlike symbolism and an expressive manipulation of reality, tied with pictorial surprise, has been displayed in all forms of art throughout several past centuries.

'Illusions' seeks to explore the distortions of form and perspective, anamorphism, double imagery, pointillism, and stereometric imagery through the works of 14 Australian and international artists. Often schematic, these optical miniaturisations capture well the impressions made on the modern consciousness, whilst experimenting with an object's epistemic qualities through provocative visual language.
- Emerson Radisich

We're thrilled to announce our first exhibition for the year, 'Illusions', which will feature the work of: Brendan Monroe, Kate Ballis, Fintan Magee, Lucas Grogan, BLO (DMV), Moneyless, Numskull, Matt Coyle, Kate Banazi, Martina Merlini, Karifurava, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, TWOONE and Karyn Taylor.

The exhibition opens Friday the 1st of February from 6-9pm and continues until Sunday the 10th. What a perfect way to start the new year!

Opening night




BLO is a French artist, whose practice depicts everyday life, but not as we know it. As a member of Da Mental Vaporz crew, (DMV) his style tells a story of his past, where an evolution from street art to studio is apparent. Although rooted in traditional graffiti in both material and composition,BLO’s current practice displays an acute sense of awareness in moving from an urban landscape to gallery spaces--not just a shift in medium, but one of context, audience and exposure. What for many is a difficult space to negotiate, it is within this quiet rift that BLO’s paintings breathe.


Brendan Monroe

Brendan Monroe (b.1980) studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. A sculptor and painter, his work consists of explorations of motion and abstracted matter, translated into a graphic black and white language that plays with perception. It's this dual quality and the tension between the flat surface and form that gives them their power and allure. He also works in clay with his collaboration with Heath Ceramics, where he has experimented with tile murals and hand built sculptures. His murals can be found in cities around the world, from Europe to Taiwan, but not yet in Australia.

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Fintan Magee

Fintan Magee is an Australian street artist known for his murals throughout Australia and the world. Born in Lismore New South Wales he grew up in Brisbane, gaining a reputation as a graffiti writer before obtaining a fine arts degree and relocating to Sydney.He has been described as ‘Australia’s Banksy by a number of media outlets although Magee has stated in various interviews that he hates this and that such comparisons are the result of ‘lazy journalism’.His work often deals with environmental issues, in 2015 his solo show at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne was themed around his own personal experiences in the 2011 Brisbane floods. He often uses personal stories to talk about broader issues like climate change and the migrant crisis.He received national acclaim for his mural depicting Felix Baumgartner in Brisbane, and has participated in various public art festivals in Australia and abroad. 



Adrian Ladmiral, more commonly known as JAW, is a French artist now living and working in Berlin. His style reveals segments of his past, in particular, that of his early involvement in the late ‘90s graffiti movement. After studying Visual Communications at Axe Stud Art School and further pursuing a style characteristic of abstract composition, Jaw joined the collective Da Mental Vaporz crew, (DMV) where his career advanced to esteemed global exhibitions.


Kate Ballis

Kate Ballis is a Melbourne-based artist who travels the globe photographing unique, otherworldly landscapes and subjects. She is intrigued by the concept of making the unseen seen. Kate’s most recent series, titled ‘Infra Realism’ is shot using infrared camera filters, enabling the viewer to identify the hidden things in nature that we, as humans, are not typically equipped to see, those that lie just outside of our physical perceptions. Infra realism explores otherworldly landscapes including the Atacama Desert, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and most recently, the Galapagos Islands. Kate’s work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe and Australia.


Kate Banazi

Currently living in Sydney, Kate Banazi was born in London and studied at Central St Martins. With a focus on silk screen printing, Banazi has also carried a creative approach towards fashion, music, illustration and advertising where the exploration on light, colour and graphic motifs remains central. On the surface Benazi’s work is playful, boasting layers of colour and linear elements. The overall un-retouched appearance of Benazi’s work has been purposely famed... Imperfections lend themselves to a continuous theme where the embracement of flaws and unpredictable glory are translated as charismatic and inveterate.


Kāryn Taylor

Working with light, shadow and negative space, Kāryn Taylor’s ephemeral and experiential works call on you to participate in an unseen world – a world of refracted light and the immaterial alchemy of a dual existence. From within this world lie endless possibilities. What is possible and what is actual? It is up to you to decide.

Kāryn Taylor received a MFA (First Class) from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2013. Taylor held her first solo exhibition with Anna Pappas Gallery, Immaterial Alchemy(2015), featuring a series of highly refined, aesthetically charged installations that seduce you into a false sense of voyeuristic objectivity. Taylor has also participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland; Sydney Contemporary, Sydney; the University of Canterbury’s SOFA Gallery, Christchurch; 30upstairs, Wellington; Waikato Museum, Auckland; and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin. In 2014, she was a finalist for the Wallace Art Awards (previously a finalist in 2012) and the Waikato Contemporary Art Awards. In 2012 she was also a finalist for the Lola Anne Tunbridge Award and in 2008 received the Dunedin Fringe Festival Grant.

- Anna Pappas


Karifurava is an illustrator, muralist, music producer, co founder of DonutPlanetStudio, and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland.

Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes-Odgers is an Australian artist based in Perth, WA. His work focuses on colour, spatial balance and movement - contrasted by complex narratives that combine ideas of nature, the built environment, human behaviour and abstraction.
Over the past 14 years he has held exhibitions and worked on public art projects across Australia and internationally. Odgers has held solo exhibitions in Perth, Melbourne, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Los Angeles and Vienna. His work is held in numerous private and public collections worldwide. In addition to his exhibition works, Kyle has worked on public art projects internationally and has created large scale murals in New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, London, Sheffield, Singapore, Madrid, Berlin, Cambodia, Iceland and Australia.

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Lucas Grogan

Currently living and working on the surface of the sun (Newcastle, NSW) Lucas Grogan is an art school drop out and faux street artist (he doesn’t skate and miraculously has a 4.9 rating on Uber). He’s worked in public, commercial and auction galleries for years since focusing on his studio practice full time. Grogan has exhibited (you name it) over Australia and internationally, including Paris, Tokyo, New York and Timbuktu. Grogan’s recognisable artwork spans multiple disciplines including painting, textiles, murals and your dad. His work has been collected by the National Gallery of Australia, Deutsche Bank and Artbank to name a few.


Matt Coyle

Wielding but a pen, ink and some coloured pencils, Matt Coyle navigates through the abject chaos and filth of this world to reveal the beauty within. Exploring the dichotomy of light and dark, line and form, his meticulous drawings transport the viewer to a hyper-real world in which something much more sinister is happening beneath the veil.

Over the past decade, Coyle has held regular solo and group exhibitions across Australia, as well as international shows at spaces such as Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong (2013) and Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland (2010). He has also participated in the 2014, 2012 and 2010 editions of the Melbourne Art Fair and the 2011 Korea International Art Fair (KIAF). In 2009, Coyle was invited to participate in Chicago’s NEXT – The Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art, a showcase of global, cutting-edge talent, and he is currently a finalist in the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing for his micro-hallucinatory drawing The Good Room.

Coyle has also published two graphic novels: Worry Doll (2007, Mam Tor, UK), “an inspired piece of gothic noir disguised as a children’s book,” and Registry of Death (1996, Kitchen Sink Press, USA). His 2007-2008 series Worry Doll was acquired by the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane and displayed as part of Recent Acquisitions – Australian, International and Asian and Pacific Collections (2008).

Works by Coyle are also held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

- Anna Pappas


Martina Merlini

Living and working between Milan and Berlin, Martina Merlini’s focus is on murals, paintings and installations, featuring a style of which is constantly evolving. Her search of formal balance, geometry and harmony is illustrated throughout her work, using materials such as wax and varnish on paper and wood. Merlini has exhibited across Europe, London, and the United States. ‘ illusions’ marks Merlini’s first exhibition in Australia. She has also participated in a variety of events and festivals both in Italy and around the globe.



Born in Milan in 1980 Teo Pirisi aka Moneyless for years has been doing research and investigation on different aspects of shapes and geometrical spaces as a visual artist. After graduating at Carrara Fine Arts Academy (multimedia course), Teo attended a postgraduate course in Communication Design at Isia (Florence). At the same time he developed an individual artistic career that brought his artworks to be shown in public spaces as well as abandoned spots. Teo is a graphic designer and a freelance illustrator as well; in the last few years he’s participated in several collective and personal exhibitions in Italy and around the world.

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Elliott Routledge (Numskull)

Elliott Routledge is an Australian contemporary artist based in Sydney, Australia.

Known for both his public art and also gallery exhibitions, he has exhibited in galleries and installed murals throughout the world.

His work exists in a balance between expressive mark making, abstract form and often word based art. Having spent a period of time practising and studying colour, his current work is reflective of how he takes this information of colour relationships and pattern choices, and treats them in a way to create bold, colourful and harmonious compositions.

Elliott’s practice spans across canvas paintings, sculpture and large scale public works. He was a feature of the Art & About Festival in Sydney and also the SODO Track international mural festival in Seattle, USA, and has also been shown in the Museums Quartier, Vienna as a part of his 2014 Residency. His work can be viewed publicly in the form of numerous large scale works or sculptures, for the City of Sydney, UTS, Westfield and many more.


Hiroyasu Tsuri (TWOONE)

Hiroyasu Tsuri (釣 博泰 Tsuri Hiroyasu, Born 26 February 1985 in Yokohama, Japan) is a Japanese contemporary artist who’s work stands out for its embodiment of hybridity. It blurs polarities such as East and West, studio practice and street art, representation and abstraction. He is also well known as TWOONE for his large scale mural works around the world. 

Since 2014 Tsuri has been based in Berlin, where he continues to experiment with materials and mediums and push his practice further. His prized artwork has been acquired by The National Gallery of Victoria and by the City of Yarra, as part of their permanent collections.