Fred Fowler

Fred Fowler’s distinctive paintings are landscapes ­– physical, cultural or psychological – that expose the hidden and imaginary, described as wormholes or portals to alternative realities. He uses abstraction to eliminate background noise and convey the impact of a complex past on the Australian landscape. These arrays of shape, colour and objects explore a wide range of subjects – colonisation, globalisation, environmental crises and the urban – with a seductive palette and an interest in the dark undercurrents of our time.

“I read art journals and books, and listen to podcasts and pick up my paint sticks and draw. As I absorb information it tends to come out in the work.” The vista in these paintings tends to be aerial, a birds-eye view that captures the curiosity of his boyish self (he grew up in Tathra, New South Wales). Now living and working in Melbourne’s Footscray, he explores with Google earth. “You can go anywhere, the desert, down tiny side roads, into communities, and into massive mines, where in actuality you wouldn’t get past the front gate.”

His early artistic interests lay with underground movements such as graffiti and street art. He had his first exhibition of contemporary art at 21, and worked in graphic design before travelling in Europe for an extended period. His reputation and portfolio saw him granted admission to the Masters program at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012. Fowler has since been awarded the TWIG regional art residency in Swan Hill, Victoria (2014), the Sculptors in Schools Residency for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, Victoria (2014), and the Artist in Residence in Clayarch Gimhae Museum, South Korea (2015). He has created murals and public artworks in Sydney, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Lyon and New York. His work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, and private collections in Australia and overseas.

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