Artist: Fiona Lowry

Fiona Lowry's latest body of work Pink Frost is an etherial, somewhat psychedelic take on the Australian bush. Rendered in her trademark airbrush style and enlivened in pastel pinks and blues, Pink Frost is now on show at Martin Browne Contemporary in Sydney (the full catalogue of works can be viewed here).

Recognised as one of Australia's leading contemporary artists, Fiona Lowry is the winner of the Archibald Prize in 2014 for her portrait of Penelope Seidler, the Fleurieu Art Prize in 2013 and Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2008. Her artworks comprise contemporary renderings of conventional portraiture and landscape painting. While citing notorious locations such as Belanglo State Forest and loosely referencing events surrounding the Ivan Milat ‘backpacker’ murders, her airbrush technique depicts the sites of these histories through an abstracted aesthetic. 

We spend a little time with Fiona to discuss her source of inspiration, approach to work and what's next.

RJ: Collectors and enthusiasts talk about the spatial depth you are able to achieve from what could be considered a flat technique (air brushing). Why were you drawn to this technique?

FL: Before picking up the air brush, I was making very tactile, sculptural works. During this period, I was looking for some other way to create a visual effect through the use of blur and sharpness. I wanted viewers to feel like they were standing inside the painting. The technique I use with the airbrush allows for the creation of depth and a feeling of being both in focus and out of focus at the same time. This is pleasing as it creates a strong effect on the viewer as they have to work a little harder to see what is happening.

RJ: Who inspires you and why?
FL: For this particular show, I was particularly inspired by the Go Betweens song Cattle and Cane. There is a sound and story, like a fading memory, that evokes a partiular time and space in my own life. The title of the largest piece, a rain of falling cinders, is a line from Cattle and Cane, while the title Pink Frost comes from 1980's New Zealand band The Chills.

RJ: After the success of Pink Frost, what's next for Fiona Lowry?
FL: I am very excited about the coming year. John Bell and Bell Shakespeare have asked a number of artists to respond to Shakespeare, either to a line from one of his plays or an image. This is wonderful project that will be completed later this year. 

Tobias Messiter