SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY 2018 | SEPTEMBER 13 TO 16
BOOTH CO2, FUTURE CONTEMPORARY, CARRIAGEWORKS
ARTIST BOOK LAUNCH
'ARRYN SNOWBALL: RECENT WORKS' TO BE LAUNCHED WITH 'IN CONVERSATION' WITH PETER SHARP, SENIOR LECTURER, UNSW AT 3PM ON SUNDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2018. PUBLICATION PRODUCED WITH SUPPORT OF THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS.
Arryn Snowball has held over 20 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows throughout 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. Arryn Snowball 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). Snowball’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and Artbank, as well as regional and university collections. Currently he divides his time between Australia and Berlin.
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.