Louise Tate

Photography by Tatanja Ross

Histories – personal and national, ancient and fictional – layer the paintings that Louise Tate crafts from family photographs, public archives, and architectural imagery. In these vignettes, from different times and places, her paintings are built, in translucent layers, textures and marks, to defeat the linearity of time. They become an amalgam of human experience, her own palimpsest of history that extends outside the moment.

Her most recent exhibition included work drawn from a Macfarlane Fund 2017 residency in Victoria’s Kyneton, and was titled History is a variable narrative. These paintings are a subtle evocation of gold rush era architecture, autumnal trees and layer soft colours like parchments. Their figurative imagery is spliced with flat surfaces, pattern, stairs and architraves. Tate said, “The crux of the work is driven by how it can exist beyond the present moment. I am fictionalising my own version of history, which is, at its heart, subjective.” These paintings evoke the past and the future, with an awareness of Australia’s unacknowledged histories and narrative disjunctions.

Her visual art practice is stimulated by her own writing which is an independent yet related expression for her thought processes. Tate completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with first class honours) at Melbourne’s RMIT in 2016. During her degree she undertook a university exchange in the Netherlands studying (for six months) at the Utrecht School of the Arts (2014). This was formative for her painting practice. In 2019, Tate completed a residency at the prestigious NARS Foundation in New York and was also a finalist in the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize and the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship.  In 2021 Tate was a finalist in the Arthur Guy Memorial Prize and Splash: McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award.

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