Cityscapes: San Francisco Goes Down Under

It's a safe bet that Vincent Van Gogh's room in Arles didn't smell like sunflowers. And yet, captured on canvas, his quarters are powerfully alluring. If only we could visit. If only we could go there.

Broad swaths of San Francisco, like Van Gogh's domicile, are dank and smelly. And yet, on canvas, they, too, elicit a gravitational pull. All the way to Australia, apparently.

Visitors to the Childers Art Space in Queensland ­— upstairs in the Palace Building; don't bother the folks downstairs, please ­— are enjoying San Francisco landscapes by artist Froyle Neideck, accompanied by a soundtrack of San Francisco street sounds and music of the sort overheard in bars where men in blazers and jeans order Grey Goose martinis. Viewers' desire to be transported away from a remote locale (pop.: 1,410) to our city is understandable.

And yet, so is the reverse.

Who wouldn't want to visit an Australian town seemingly designed by Monty Python to be bisected by the Bruce Highway? Who doesn't want to visit the Flying High Bird Sanctuary or Goodnight Scrub National Park?

Neideck tells us she wanted to “create a space for people to feel San Francisco.” Several of her paintings even come equipped with motion sensors triggering specific sounds. One that comes up prevalently: “lots of sirens!”

It would seem, in the end, this Australian visitor got a pretty accurate feel for our city.

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