Director of the Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Trevor Harvey at the new David Bromley exhibition at the Hyatt Restaurant. Photo: Jay Cronan
First the Prime Minister's Lodge was attacked for its ugly decor and now Canberra's most historic hotel has copped (constructive) criticism from acclaimed artist David Bromley.
According to Bromley, following a recent stay at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, the promenade restaurant is "the worst place to eat because it's so ugly" but instead of resorting to condemnation he was inspired to create an exhibition especially for the bland, beige walls - walls which many world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities are exposed to on a daily basis.
The bright, bold colours of the Food, Glorious Food exhibition now beam from the walls of the austere looking dining rooms. Bromley said after his dining experience he went on a journey exploring old botanical illustrations and formal constructs of food.
He then added his trademark bold colour, the children and the whimsical characters that resemble guests from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
"I'm quite partial to a painting hanging on the wall to enhance the environment and when it comes to a low rise, beautiful, classical hotel and its restaurant those environments are really enchanting and I just wanted to put some things in there that would add to its enchanting experience," he said.
While Bromley is better known for his female nudes and fashion models he said creating the exhibition allowed him to indulge his passions - food, formal hotel experiences and smorgasbords.
"I know I'm reasonably well known for painting fashion models but my proportions are not that. I tip the scales at about 102.6 kilograms.
'' I love my food so a smorgasbord is the place to be and sitting in there [at the Hyatt] I just felt like I wanted to enhance the environment."
The result is a number of large scale canvases featuring fresh produce, cartoon characters and a young MasterChef in the making.
"I love it. It really makes me happy. That little boy has got all the sort of swagger and the confidence of a Heston Blumenthal."
The Hyatt Hotel's general manager, Mikael Svensson, said Food, Glorious Food changes the dining experience for the better.
"It's a silver service restaurant yet it lacks inspiration and seeing these pieces hanging there now just shows that it's the perfect gallery," Mr Svensson said.
He said being able to bring the "gallery out of the gallery" and show off pieces has had a positive effect on staff morale and clientele. The exhibition manager, Trevor Harvey, agreed.
"Just this week Kevin Rudd walked past, stopped and looked and said 'I'll be back'," Mr Harvey said.
Food, Glorious Food and Bromley's exhibition of new work will be on display in The Gallery Room at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra from February 8 until February 10.
Bromley recommends the basil, tomato and bocconcini salad when sampling the smorgasbord.