Adrian DOYLE | Why do you feel so bad?

Adrian DOYLE
active Australia 2003

Why do you feel so bad? 2003
artist's proof
Not signed. Not dated. Titled centre 'Why do you / feel so bad?'
printed image (irregular) 9.5 (h) x 23.2 (w) cm
Gordon Darling Australia Pacific Print Fund 2007
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2007.54.5
© Adrian Doyle


Adrian Doyle has helped shape the culture of Melbourne contemporary art through his prolific and prize winning work. Doyle’s artwork is featured in prominent publications and national and international collections.


Why do you feel so bad? is unlike the installations and colourful prints depicting houses and the suburban landscape in Australia that Doyle is well recognised for.  This stencil work relies on simple, uncontrived dark brown lettering to convey its relatively straight-forward question.  The text is emphasised by the stencil spray technique which causes it to pop out of the contrasting framed square, the outer edges softened by a fuzzy ink effect. 

The text compels the viewer to ask the very question of themselves.  On the one hand, it is somewhat gratifying to read a question that comes across in an anonymous,sympathetic manner, as if the viewer’s feelings are valued.  On the other, the question could also be perceived as having an interrogative edge, accusing the viewer of an assumed transgression.  Is there a viewer out there squirming guiltily because this work has hit a real nerve? 

Given there is no vocal accent or additional grammatical symbols to give us a clue about the work’s real intent, the viewer must decide how they prefer the text to be read.Why do you feel so bad?

Karie Wilson

Street by Lister

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