Fred Fowler’s paintings of landscapes — physical, cultural and psychological — are populated by a collage of floating forms, including pools, bushland, mining pits, fires, ghost nets, boats and buildings. In his recent works, Fowler has been using Google Earth to study sites of significance in relation to the idea of the Australian landscape. 'You can go anywhere — the desert, down tiny side roads, into communities, and into massive mines — where in actuality you wouldn't get past the front gate,' he explains. Fowler is particularly interested in the tension between the contrasting places he captures: the richest suburbs in the country, the mines where the nation’s wealth comes from, and detention centres as a divisive symbol of immigration policies.
Fowler's semi-abstract works explore the relationships between native and invasive species, civilisation and nature, conflict and resolution and themes such as colonisation, globalisation and urbanisation. In his subtly subversive, multi-layered works, Fowler camouflages the political aspects of his work, which remain ambiguous and can be interpreted on different levels.
Before graduating with a Master of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012, Fred Fowler was a graffiti and street artist. He has created murals and public artworks in Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Lyon and New York, and has exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. His work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, and is included in private collections in Australia and overseas.