Grants & residencies: Arryn Snowball - Art Collector

Issue 63, January - March 2013

This profile appeared in the Grants & residencies feature, part of the annual special issue 50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2013.

Arryn Snowball, Ashes and Diamonds II, 2012. Oil on linen, 120 x 150cm. Courtesy: the artist and Heiser Gallery, Brisbane

Artist Residency: Australia Council Rome Residency.

Brisbane-based painter Arryn Snowball is Europe bound to embark on a three-month Australia Council residency in Rome. Something of a quiet achiever, Snowball is a solid painter whose practice observes a strong conceptual thread. His paintings of billowing sheets on clotheslines, or of the steam emitted from a kettle, are one part abstraction, one part realism. They imbue the prosaic with eloquent profundity. Snowball has previously described his project as an investigation of ambiguity – he finds a rare beauty in that which is overlooked.

As to Rome, Snowball says it’s a city “I’ve always wanted to visit, and I’m thrilled to have some real time to spend there. How many layers of history can be in one place?” International residencies are a rare opportunity for many artists to have dedicated studio time aside from the rigours of everyday life, as part of a larger community of international artists. There is the chance to work solo or to engage with one another and for many this experience is life changing. Snowball says: “The British School in Rome is an international research centre for historians and archaeologists as well as artists, with an amazing library and support structure. There are often invitations to visit digs and areas not normally accessible to the public.”

In 2008 Snowball spent a year in residence at Tokyo National School of Art and Music. “I found in Japan that it can take a while to process things. Looking back, my work certainly was influenced by the experience but it’s hard to put your finger on it at the time.”

Like his work, Snowball is quiet and considered but he reveals he wants to “study elements of design and abstraction in medieval and early renaissance icons and frescos, particularly techniques that flatten the image and undermine its pictorial structure.” When in Rome, as they say.

Alison Kuble

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