Arryn Snowball: House of Breath, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane, 28 October to 22 November 2014
It was such a pleasure to catch up with Arryn Snowball at Heiser Gallery during his recent visit to Brisbane. HOUSE OF BREATH at Heiser Gallery sees increased variation in Arryn’s abstract paintings, an extension of the depth last seen in the abstract paintings shown also by Heiser Gallery at SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY (Carriageworks, 19-22 September 2013), and his capture of light, air and spirit that is moving and evocative.
Yesterday we recorded an interview that traces his experience as an Australian artist now resident in Berlin and the way that the different nature of this cultural engagement impacts his studio practice. More about that in future blogs…
However, he shared his artist notes about HOUSE OF BREATH and what follows is an extract that explores the experience of these paintings in the artist’s words. With permission I have published Arryn’s concluding words below. All images courtesy Arryn Snowball and Heiser Gallery.
Arryn Snowball, House of Breath, 2014:
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 think I will call 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.
Speaking of houses, I like paintings in homes, I’m thinking mostly of the paintings I have of my friends. It is a much slower viewing. I like to see how they change in different light. To watch them age as I age. (Is it the painting that’s changed, or is it me?) To remember the friend who painted it, to follow a mark or a gesture and feel their relationship to their tools and materials. To empathise somehow with their struggles with painting, their concerns and decisions. To imagine how I might resolve the work differently and then to follow their resolution, their decisions, their logic. And to feel somehow closer to their being, their particular understanding of the world. Maybe similar to mine, maybe quite different. To empathise with another man or woman. Feel what drives them, feel their solitude, somehow participate in their solitude, perhaps it’s a loneliness that reflects my own loneliness, or the loneliness of us all.
Can a painting be a structure to house our thoughts and daydreams? A place for the play of imagination, philosophy and ‘vulnerable values’, a slow space for a gentle beauty. A theoretical space with its own sense of logic, of physics, that yet reflects something of this universe we find ourselves in. 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.