Zoe Irving is a multi-disciplinary artist who observes anthropogenic landscapes and our human attempt to assert order and ideology over a boundless world.
Zoe Irving is a multi-disciplinary artist who works across painting, sculpture, music and printmaking. Her work is an embodied attempt to slow down, regain appreciation of our sensory tactile existence and from that place, explore abstract ideas and theories. The brush strokes in her paintings show her rapidly moving mind, with fast colours and textures layered on top of each other, and spontaneous lines that attempt to link human and non-human worlds. Her inclusion of architectural shapes and human faces in vast landscapes invite viewers in to muse at the irony of our human attempts to turn deep geological time-scales into construction sites with site offices.
Intertwining sociology, ecological collapse, aesthetic theory and inter-personal relationships, she visually depicts these spaces through suburban open cut quarries, logging coupes on our city fringes, pylons and powerlines, straightened urban river courses, altered farmland, roadkill and our increasingly fragile emotional states that inflict and exist amongst all this. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in commercial and artist run galleries though-out Melbourne, and has completed an artist in residence program in the cultural region of Obinitsa in Estonia. Her music has been heard throughout local Melbourne venues and on community radio stations throughout Australia.
- Finding of fragments of beauty in denuded landscapes
- Working at Warlukurlangu Arts Centre in YuendumuWorking at Warlukurlangu Arts Centre in Yuendumu
- Experimenting with new ideas, materials and sounds, and bouncing ideas between other people and collaborators
What medium do you work with, and why have you chosen them?
I work across multiple mediums and am moving from painting towards sculpture at the moment. In my paintings I enjoy texture and physicality, using wax medium with oil paints, wax and sawdust and carving into plywood. Because of this my work is currently moving towards a more extreme version of this, using wood and stone and learning how to sculpt and carve these materials. I enjoy the thought of using mainly found and recycled materials in my artworks, and because of this am gravitating to wood and stone, both of which are found readily in the area I live in (fallen branches, old stone from past buildings, dam walls and pathways).
How does your artwork get from initial concept to exhibition stage?
My work begins from an emotional place, responding to a feeling a physical place has given me, or responding to my internal world and imbuing that feeling onto a landscape. Often, I get fixated on one idea, then jump to another idea and can struggle to finish my lines of inquiry in coherent and exhibitable ways. When I am working towards and exhibition, this deadline helps to structure my thinking and work flow. Once I have decided on a concept, I often gather all the relevant material, sketches, bits of writing, maybe a few finished paintings, some found objects or worked on sculptures, and spend time reflecting on what else is needed to create a visually and intellectually stimulating show. From this space of reflecting, I begin working on new pieces until the exhibition is fully fleshed out and appropriated to the space it will be shown in.
Can you tell us a little more about your creative working environment/studio?
Over the last year, I have learnt some basic building skills. I have finished setting up a workshop space on the property I rent. My workshop is an old caravan which I have stripped bare inside, and use for my painting space. Outside I have built a deck and undercover area around it to use for my wood and stone carving. It is very rustic but I am lucky to have a space where I can make a lot of noise with power tools and chainsaws, and a lot of mess with saw dust, oil paint and charcoal.