Born in 1977, Arryn Snowball graduated with first Class Honours from the Queensland College of Art in 2002.  In 2008 he spent a year in residence at the Tokyo National School of Art and Music and in 2011 he was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Arts at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.  Currently he divides his time between Australia and Berlin.

Snowball’s paintings and new media works are meditations on isolated moments of transient beauty in simple natural phenomena such as sheets blowing in the wind or steam rising from a kettle. His subjects, while symbols of transience and impermanence, are fleeting traces of the everyday. There is a constant play between representation and abstraction; an ever present push and pull between figuration and abstraction. They are so formless that they play with formlessness.

The artist is interested in states of transition, the effects of phenomena, light, atmosphere. While often based in representation, his work has a strong relationship to minimalism and abstraction and investigates the shift between the subject and object of painting and the construction of the image, but also its deconstruction. The works in this exhibition are an exploration of movement, light and time.

 “I am interested in the concept of ‘painting as model’”, the artist explains, “that a work of art is its own theory; a theoretical space that may contain its own idiosyncratic logic, a different set of physical laws, movement, gravity, time, relationships of meaning”.

 Spinning in the pull of absent things was on show at the NANCY SEVER | GALLERY, 4/6 Kennedy Street, Kingston until 21 December 2014 . For further information on available works please contact Nancy Sever on 0416 249 102 or email:



My work is informed by contemporary discourses on the indeterminate structures of meaning and form. I am interested in states of transition, the effects of phenomena, light, atmosphere, the subject matter is usually drawn from isolated everyday phenomena such as sheets blowing in the wind. While often based in representation, my work has a strong relationship to minimalism and abstraction and investigates the shift between the subject and object of painting, the construction of the image, but also its dissemblance or unravelling.

The works in this exhibition are an exploration of movement, light and time. I am interested in concept of ‘painting as model’ That a work of art is its own theory. A theoretical space that may contain its own idiosyncratic logic, a different set of physical laws, movement, gravity, time, relationships of meaning. A micro universe in itself, that yet reflects something of the broader universe. A space for a philosophy of being that weaves itself out of material, imagery, associations and metaphor.

Sheet paintings

This series of paintings draw their imagery from a sheet gently billowing on the clothesline. The paint is applied in multiple transparent layers, each layer takes its outline from a different moment of the sheet in movement and build together towards a luminous white. These works reference the white square, a classic modernist ‘zero ground’. However, by letting it blow in the wind I was attempting to undermine the idealist/essentialist notion of the white square as the origin and endpoint of reductive modernism. The abstract becomes representational and returns a sense of the everyday. And yet even when it is blown into an irregular shape it still remains a square. So neither fully one thing nor the other, what emerged is a subtle sense of movement and a duration of time embodied in the glow of white. The paintings shift, rather than sheets or squares they come to represent the phenomena of movement and light.

Above: Untitled. 2009  Oil on linen  180 x 180 cm $9,900 each

 Wind Sequence (16 seconds)

Each image in this series is composed by 16 photographs laid in sequence. The photos were taken about a second apart as the square of graph paper moved in the breeze. Allowing the wind to make the compositions. The paper is lit from right hand side, so depending on its angle is brighter or darker, sometimes out of focus because it is further away, or burred from moving fast, or over exposed from proximity to the light.

However the sequence of sixteen instants over sixteen odd seconds is not immediately obvious, as what catches your attention is the pattern and variation of diamond shapes. Your eye does not only travel from left to right, top to bottom, but can traverse the image in multiple directions, perhaps following the vertical columns, or the diagonals, or following the rhythms of light and dark. In this way the linear sequence becomes subject to the formal relationships in the work, time is pulled this way and that by light, shape and pattern.

As duration is turned into pattern, so linear time is stretched into a field of time. You are free to take it in all at once or you can move through it visually, not only forwards or backwards, but in any direction. (It is only sixteen seconds… so contradictions of time travel should only be very minimal :)

Below: Wind Sequence (16 seconds) Nos. 1 & 2.  2014, Photographic prints, 85 x 126 cm (unframed) $3,000 each.

Wind Sequence (4 seconds) Nos. 1, 2, 3 & 5. 2014, Photographics prints, 50 x 75 cm (unframed) $1,200 each.


Spinning in the pull of absent things

Are the beginnings of a project exploring movement and loss. For these drawings/photos I sought the assistance of Chris Daees, a physicist who works with turbulence, and Tomeko Inue, a contemporary Japanese dancer.

The work began as an exploration of the entropy of the ‘Karman Effect’. The process of translation and re-translation (through blackboard drawings, dance and mathematical modelling) began to take on a logic of its own, diverging from and yet related to the physics that initiated it.

Turbulence is truly chaotic and too complex to be fully modelled.  Most of the maths involves finding the boundaries of the turbulent areas, and generalising the effect on the movements within the flow. Chris and I developed a simple mathematical model of the disturbance around an object as the flow becomes turbulent. This was given to Tomeko as an abstract form of choreography, for her to interpret in her movements.

As she translated the modelling in her dance, I had the impression that the boundaries of the turbulence became the extension of her body in the surrounding space, contained and yet somehow fluid and open.

The chalk drawings were made on a blackboard in reaction to the movements of the dancer. The boundaries of the marks became the reach of my arm. The drawing was documented and erased. The traces of previous lines and ghosts of chalk dust become the basis of the next drawing in a continual process of movement and change.

Below:Spinning in the pull of absent things Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. 2014. Photographic prints 40 x 60 cm (unframed) $1,200 each


Artist statements are odd things to write, to give an entry to an artwork in a few words. I could continue to describe my processes, or my interest in structure and unraveling, form and phenomena, meanings and nothings. But what about intentions?  How would I even begin to talk about love and loss, and that intimate distance that keeps us apart? I lack the language to strike at the heart of the matter. Instead, I would like to quote a delicate poem about love and loss. Written by a dear friend of mine. I hope it goes some way to explaining my intentions:

Sweeping the light back into the mirror No.03

 you taught me the names of plants

you taught me my name

you taught me the names of plants

in a garden we must obey the patterns

transcribe the light onto the backs of our hands

light possesses light

it teaches chlorophyll to drink

you taught me the names of plants

you taught me my name

threw the first shadows across my eyes


Nathan Shepherdson 2006

 Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror, University of Queensland press: Brisbane.


Arryn Snowball's Biographical details

Born  1977 Sydney, Australia

Solo Exhibitions

2019 Mobbed by clouds, Nancy Sever Gallery, Canberra

2018 Slack Water, Sydney Contemporary, Sydney

2017 Mammoth, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane

2017      Square Sun, Nancy Sever Gallery, Canberra.

2016      Arryn Snowball: House of Breath, survey exhibition,

             Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Caboolture

             Continuum, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne.

2014     House of Breath, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane

             Spinning in the pull of absent things, Nancy Sever Gallery, Canberra.

2012    Light possesses light, Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

            Slow Dance, Gallery Smith, Melbourne.

2011    Undone, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.

            All promises lead back to the sea, Gallery Smith, Melbourne.

            Things and Nothings, PoP Gallery, Brisbane.

2009    Recent Works, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.

2007    6 Paintings, Metro Arts, Brisbane.

            New Works, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney.

            New Works, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.

2006    Defer, Esa Jaske Gallery, Sydney.

2005    Recent Works, Esa Jaske Gallery, Sydney.

            Recent Works, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane.

2004    Painting Divergence, Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane.

            Dissolution, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.

            Indeterminate, Esa Jaske Gallery, Sydney.

2003    Steam, Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane.

            Trace, Starter Space, Bar Merlo, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Selected Group Exhibitions 

2018 Water line: Miles Hall and Arryn Snowball, Chateau de Assas, Montpelier.

2017 The Last Grass, Rachel Carson Centre, Munich.

      Of Structure and Freedom, Umbrella Contemporary Arts, Townsville

               Three Unclaimed Gestures, Art OneonOne, Cologne.                 

2015       Light Play: Ideas, Optics, Atmosphere, UQ Art Museum.

2014       Lange Nacht in den Gerichthofen, Gerrichthof, Berlin.

               15 Artists Retrospective Exhibition, Pine Rivers Art Gallery.

               Conflict: Contemporary responses to war, UQ Art Museum.

2013      The Art of Sound, Caboolture Art Gallery.

               Special Moves, MOP Gallery, Sydney.

               Ides of March, The British School at Rome, Rome.

               Drawing a Line, Caboolture Art Gallery.

2012       OpenClosed: Lincoln Austin, Sean Phillips, Arryn Snowball, QUT Art Museum.

               10 Years of Things, UQ Art Museum.

                Interstate Romance, Pseudo Space, Sydney.

                Promise Program, Metro Arts.

 2011       Four Points in Time, Project Gallery, QCA, Brisbane.

               The Kids are Alright, Paper Mill Gallery, Sydney.

               Citizen Collectors, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery.

2010       New 2010: Selected Recent Acquisitions, UQ Art Museum.

               Babel Projekt, Woodford, Folk Festival, Qld.

               Here and There, Slot Gallery, Sydney.

2009       New Order, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Redcliffe.

2008       Takuro Usui Firoz Muhmud Arryn Snowball, Tokyo National University of Art

               and Music, Japan.

                Kiryu Saen 14, Kiryu, Japan.

               Gifted: New to the Griffith University Collection, Dell Gallery, Brisbane.

2007       Arc Biennial: To be Confirmed, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane.

2006       Inter Image, Art Encounters; Contemporary Japan and Australia,

               Aug – Queensland College of Art, Brisbane.

               Dec – Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo.

                The Year in Art, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney.

                Colonial to Contemporary, Queensland College of Art 125 years,

                Dell gallery Griffith University, Brisbane.

2005       15 Artists, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Redcliffe.

               Re-positioning Photography, Idiosyncrasy: Painting and Photography,

                Queensland Centre for Photography, Brisbane.           

               The Recent Past, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane.

               Object/Subject, Museum of Brisbane.

                Great Escapes, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

2003       This is Love, Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane.

                Straticulation, Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane.


Tertiary  Education            

2011         Doctorate of Visual Arts, QCA, Griffith University.

2002         Bachelor in Visual Art with Honors (First Class)

                 Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. 

Activities and Awards               

2013          British School in Rome Artist Residency, 3 months.

2008-11     Woodford Folk Festival Projects.

2009          Peel Island Artist Residency.

2008          Residency at Tokyo National University of Art and Music, 12 months.

2007          UNESCO ACCU Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage, Japan.

2006           APA Scholarship.

2005           Winner, Redcliffe City Art Prize.

2003            Melville Haysom Scholarship and 6 month residency at the Queensland Art Gallery.

1998-2002   Exhibitions Assistant, Soapbox Gallery.


National Gallery of Australia,


Hawkesbury 1 Collection,

Queensland University of Technology,

University of Queensland Art Museum,

Griffith University,

Maitland Regional Art Gallery,

Redcliffe City Art Gallery,

Ipswich Art Gallery,

CQ University,

private collections.




2005-2012            Lecturer in Painting, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

2010-2012            Installation officer, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.

2003-2005            Museum Assistant, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum.


Selected Citations, Publications


2016      Gruber, F. Arryn Snowball's Still Point in the Turning World, Radio National, 27 April 2016.

              McCulloch, A. Interview, The Arts Show JFM, 7 April 2016.

              McBurnie, J. House of Breath Exhibition Review, Eyeline Contemporary Art Magazine 85.

2014       Brown, P. Breathing Space, Exhibition review, Brisbane News, 5th November 2014.

               Kubler, A. House of Breath,  Exhbition review, Raven, 10th November 2014.

2012       Hawker, R. Open/Closed, catalogue essay, QUT Art Museum.

               Broker, D. Light Possesses Light, catalogue essay, Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

               Werkmeister, S. Birth, School, Metallica, Death: Arryn Snowball and the Zen of Darkness, Catalogue essay, Metro Arts.

2011       Bazelly, L. L’exlorateur du quotidian, Exhibition review, Arts Three November 2011.

               Martin-Chew, L. ‘Figurative to Abstract’, Australian Art Review, Issue 29 Sep-Oct 2011.

               Brown, P. Mist opportunity, Exhibition review, Brisbane News 21st September 2011

               Nelson, R. Sound and Light Builds Up a Head of Steam, Exhibition review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age 20th July 2011.

               Rule, D. All promises lead back to the sea, Exhibition review, The Age, 9th July 2011.

2009       ‘Oh that I were where I could be’, Exhibition review Sean Phillip, Artlink, Vol 29, No 3, p.96.

2008       Kiyota Naohiro, Interview, Tokyo Design Flow No.6

2007       Crimmings, E. Sunday Arts, ABC Television, 4th November 2007.

               Shepherdson, N. The Importance of the Square, Exhibition Catalogue.

               Craig, G. Arc Biennial: To Be Confirmed, Exhibition Catalogue, QUT Art Museum.

               Kubler, A. ‘Queensland Painters: The New Breed’, Art in Australia, Vol 45 No1, Spring 2007.

2006       Inter Image, Art Encounters; Contemporary Japan and Australia, Exhibition Catalogue, Queensland College of Art and Tokyo University of Fine                    Arts and Music.

               Morell, T. 2006 Colonial to Contemporary, Queensland College of Art 125 Years, Exhibition Catalogue, Dell Gallery.

               Snowball, A. 2006 ‘Monstrous Painting’, Machine Visual Arts Bi-Monthly, Issue 1.6 2006 pp.2-3.

               Carlon, K.2006 ‘A Beautiful Impossible Thing’ in Defer, Exhibition catalogue, Esa JaskeGallery.

2005       Butler, R.2005 ‘Kept at the edge of the discernible’, The Courier Mail, 21st February 2005, p.13.

               Brown, P. ‘Static Illusion’, The Brisbane News, 16-22nd February 2005, p.35.

2004       Kubler, A. ‘Dissolution: Paintings by Arryn Snowball’, Eyeline, Vol 55, Spring 2004.

               Brown, P. ‘Painting the Town’, Brisbane News, 11-17th August 2004, pp.6-8.

               Hawker, R. 2004 ‘Dissolution: Paintings by Arryn Snowball’ IMA exhibition catalogue.

               Wright, S. 2004 ‘Just Beyond Reach: Arryn Snowball’, Indeterminate exhibition catalogue.

2003       Holubizky, I. 2003 ‘There is No Need to Come to Bris-bayne, When I Have a Great  

               White Shark Right Here’, Artlink, Vol 23, No 2, June 2003, pp.29-32.

               Stonely, R. 2003 ‘Prime Two’, Artlink, Vol 23, No 2, June 2003, pp.68-69.

               David Broker, Art to Lunch, Radio interview, 4ZZZ, 1st June 2003.

2002    Ehmann, F. & Holubizky, I. 2002 Hetrostrophic, Brisbane: IMA Publishing.


View of the Spinning in the pull of absent things exhibition

Views of Arryn Snowball  House of Breath exhibition at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Queensland , March 2016.