Gallery Adagio Main Logo


91 Glebe Point Road

Glebe NSW 2037

P (02) 9552 2833

F (02) 9571 1899

Opening Hours:

Tues - Sunday,

11am - 6pm.

Nick Leahy







"Petroliana" and "Garagenalia" are terms used for vintage and retro car related products. The quirky images of these products provide a snapshot into the oil-dominated past where emphasis was on prosperity at the expense of the environment. Oil companies and their huge profits, limited accountability, and their disregard for nature have become great contemporary issues.


"BP…at your service!" challenges its own title as the work shows the respect once had for the oil consumer with many services provided to add to the convenience of the customer (like service station petrol bowser attendants). However, now the remaining companies trying to monopolise on the world and globalisation are neglecting consumer’s rights in preference for huge financial gain. “Shell-Hot in the City Tonight…Filler Up!” also follows this ideal but also includes an image of a scantily clad girl with the suggestive and quite raunchy title, but with a touch of humour considering the period it represented.


"Mobilgas Special" displays aesthetic qualities quite appealing to contemporary design. The rusting of the Mobil sign’s surface symbolises the decay of an oil reliant culture now looking forward to a greener future. The rusting surfaces of other artworks from the series symbolise not only the decay of an oil reliant culture, but also the demise of iconic Australian brand names. Ampol, Kangaroo, Golden Fleece, C.O.R. and other companies took great pride in their "Australianism" through their patriotic symbols like the kangaroo and Australian map outline. Also, not only have oil companies come and gone, but some have morphed during the years, for example Plume to Mobil, underlining the volatility in companies’ survival and their need to adapt to a fast paced world.