Arryn Snowball

Arryn Snowball

Paintings by Arryn Snowball

30 April–29 May 200430 Apr–29 May 2004

Arryn Snowball‘s paintings are of close to nothing, and yet, as images based on photographs, they have a very particular and insistent subject. These paintings begin in photographs of steam; a necessary document of a subject that is almost not there. That is, this ephemeral subject is only made sufficiently present to be painted by its having been photographed. However, despite the process that brings this at once curious and banal subject to our attention, the representation of steam is not so much the purpose of the works as their enabling condition. What steam enables the artist to do is to empty his paintings of content, in so far as we understand content to be constituted in narrative, or form, or meaning. Through this process Snowball opens his images to a broader and more ambitious exploration of the possibility of experience and sensation through painting, an exploration that is perfectly anchored to the fleeting form and formlessness of steam. As the artist says, ‘while it is steam that I’m painting, it’s not what I’m painting about.’

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.