Arryn Snowball has held solo exhibitions in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. His work has been included in group exhibitions in Australia, Europe and Japan. A survey exhibition of Snowball’s work was held at the Caboolture Art Gallery, Queensland, in 2016. He has participated in the broader arts community through lecturing, forums, critical writing, artist run projects and collaborations.
He has a Doctorate of Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art, where he taught painting from 2005-2012. His awards include the Melville Haysom Memorial Art Scholarship, from the Queensland Art Gallery (2003), a year in residence at the Tokyo National School of Art and Music (2008), the Australia Council‘s residency in Rome (2013). A monograph of the artist's work with published in 2018 with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts. Snowball’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and Artbank, as well as regional and university collections.
CONTACT GALLERY FOR PRICE INFORMATION
With contributions from Rosemary Hawker, Megan Williams, Nathan Shepherdson and Jonathan McBurnie
Published by Downwind with support of the Australia Council for the Arts; 2018
SELLING PRICE $40 inc postage within Australia
2 TO 20 DECEMBER 2020
ART GUIDE AUSTRALIA, NOV/DEC 20
Berlin-based Australian painter Arryn Snowball has recently worked with poets, dancers and musicians. Collaboration is intrinsic to his creative process. "A big part of art is sharing it with others. Painting is not only art while someone is looking at is; that is already a collaboration between the artist and audience," Snowball explains. "I put my trust in process and follow where it leads. Process is at the heart of abstract painting."
Part of this process is keeping an open studio. "I open my studio door to a friend and they step into my practice. They bring their practice with them. If we start to talk, to play, then sometimes it leads somewhere" he says. "The word 'collaboration' has an official ring to it, like something workshopped at a meeting. Whereas these collaborations are more like a conversation or a jam session; they are fluid and reciprocal, and go deeper as the night gets on."
One such conversation, with Australian poet Nathan Shepherdson, resulted in a forthcoming illustrated book of poetry, Slack Water. Snowball painted fragments from Shepherdson's poems, which were themselves assembled from works lifter from Grant's Guide to Fishes, a classic Australian text. And Snowball's call and response methodology applies to his own work as well: text-based works from this series have morphed into the pale abstract paintings he made for his solo exhibition Big Numbers.
Since 2014, Snowball has divided his time between between Australia and Berlin, and the German city itself is one of his collaborators. Attracting not only artists, but people from fields as diverse as architecture and heavy metal, the city is a critical mass that drives interdisciplinary creativity. As Snowball says, "Berlin is a big conversation to be a part of, and that has affected every stroke of the brush."
exhibition preview by Tracey Clement in Art Guide Australia issue November/December 2020 p48-49
ARTIST PROFILE, ISSUE 53 2020
SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY 2018 | SEPTEMBER 13 TO 16
BOOTH CO2, FUTURE CONTEMPORARY, CARRIAGEWORKS
This work is about the Pacific Ocean, it’s about fishing, abstract poetry and a peculiar physics, it’s about meaning and the dissolution of being, it is about light and water, sky and horizon, surface and depths.
The Slack Water project is ongoing. It just started in December 2017. It includes so far 77 poems by Nathan Shepherdson, an acclaimed Brisbane poet and a dear friend, three art works on paper, each composed of 150 individual sheets, and paintings.
Nathan and I wanted to make a work about the Pacific Ocean, but the ocean is big, so as a place to start we decided to work from the Fisherman’s Bible: Grant’s Guide to Fishes.
Nathan wrote 77 poems, using Grant’s Guide. Each poem uses only words found in the text on one fish. The poems are powerful, abstract, difficult, beautiful, and the ocean swells within them. I started by painting text from the poems in a similar way. I entered the poems through fragments, cutting them up, taking poetic images - single lines, or phrases, or simply the shapes generated by the letters, and transformed them into painting.
This is not simply an academic exercise. I select the fragments of the poems that I respond to, words that pull at me. The 77 poems are dense and quite abstract, yet they are powerful, filled with associations and energy. The poems build their own universe. My smallest unit is the shape produced by a letter, then a word, a phase, a line, and the greatest unit is a full poem.
Although rarely mentioned, for me, the most powerful image overall is the ocean. It takes me back to fishing on the coast as a kid; disappearing into the colour of the water, the sky, the light, the movement of the tides, the great complexity of the ocean, its power and mystery. For me the ocean is still in the realm of the great unknown, it is what I miss most while living in Berlin.
ARTIST PROCESS NOTES
9 APRIL TO 1 MAY 2016
An exhibition of new painting by Arryn Snowball, concurrent with the artist’s survey exhibition at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. Berlin based Arryn Snowball has held solo exhibitions in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. His work has been included in group exhibitions in Australia, Italy and Japan. Snowball holds a Doctorate of Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art and was awarded the British School in Rome Artist Residency by the Australia Council in 2013. Snowball’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and Artbank, as well as regional and university collections.
Snowball’s work is concerned with the play between movement and stillness, structure and fluidity, repetition and rhythm. Little here remains solid or definite. The works hover delicately on the edge of abstraction and rarely insist on a meaning or metaphor, but instead open a space for reflection and contemplation. In this way, Snowball’s art reconfigures itself around the impressions it evokes. The paintings become vessels for light. They become an open structure to house thoughts and memories, a bowl that can be filled and emptied and filled again.
…down the road in a mist of rain, it seemed as if the house were founded on the most fragile web of breath and you had blown it. Then you thought that it might not exist at all as built by carpenter’s hands, nor had ever; and it was only an idea of breath breathed out by you who, with that same breath that had blown it, could blow it all away.
I should like my house to be similar to that of the ocean wind, all quivering with gulls.
My house is diaphanous, but it is not of glass. It is more of the nature of vapour. Its walls contract and expand at my desire. At times I draw them close about me like protective armour… But at others, I let the walls of my house blossom out in their own space, which is infinitely extensible.
you taught me the names of plants
you taught me my name
you taught me the names of plants
in a garden we must obey the patterns
transcribe the light onto the backs of our hands
light possesses light
it teaches chlorophyll to drink
you taught me the names of plants
you taught me my name
threw the first shadows across my eyes
These are not houses, or paintings of houses. I was led there by thinking about structure and I thought it interesting as a parallel, as a way of talking around the paintings. I suppose it is my hope that painting can act in a different, but similar way. Perhaps at another time I could find an astronomer talking about the light from distant stars and it would also make a certain kind of sense. However, I have called the series House of Breath after the William Goyen novel, I like that the word ‘house’ makes them a little more intimate and breath brings them closer to the body.
Can a painting be a structure to house our thoughts and daydreams? A space for reverie, for the play of light and imagination. A slow space for a gentle beauty and for a philosophy of vulnerable values. A theoretical space with its own sense of logic, of physics, with its own time, its own gravity, its own relationships of meaning. A micro-universe that yet reflects something of this universe we find ourselves in, or perhaps something we find within ourselves. I’d like my painting to be a place to hover between awareness of being and loss of being. A place to reconcile loss and love. A space, not only for communication, but for empathy. Insisting on nothing and suggesting everything.
ARRYN SNOWBALL ‘SLACK WATER’ AT USC ART GALLERY 18 FEBRUARY TO 7 MAY 2022
Slack Water is a collaboration between artist, Arryn Snowball and poet, Nathan Shepherdson about the Pacific Ocean. At the end of 2017, Shepherdson made 77 poems in response to Grant’s Guideto Fishes known as the ‘fisherman’s bible’. The exhibition brings together new and recent paintings, gouache studies, and experimental performance-based drawings by Snowball inspired by the…
ARRYN SNOWBALL EXHIBITION PREVIEWED IN ‘ART GUIDE’ BY TRACEY CLEMENT, NOV/DEC 20
Berlin-based Australian painter Arryn Snowball has recently worked with poets, dancers and musicians. Collaboration is intrinsic to his creative process. “A big part of art is sharing it with others. Painting is not only art while someone is looking at is; that is already a collaboration between the artist and audience,” Snowball explains. “I put…
ARRYN SNOWBALL’S NEW PUBLICATION IN GINA FAIRLEY ‘ARTSHUB’ ARTICLE
Arts publishing on the rise, thanks to industry chutzpah GINA FAIRLEY With a slew of new artist monographs released over the past month, ArtsHub questions the recent focus on visual arts publishing and shift in trends. ‘Depending on how you look at it, the art-book industry is either in precarious straits or the midst of…