From the Highlife archives – Spring 2012 edition
Internationally acclaimed artist Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox, who was born and raised on the Downs, has one passion greater then her artwork – her daughters.
Haling from Dalby, the mother of three speaks of her family with pride and explains how they have always supported her career, especially her own mother. Unable to recall an age where she wasn’t holding a paintbrush, the contemporary artist explains that her mother, grandmother and the generation before all painted. “Paints and paper and things like that were always just there,” says Kathryn.
Her mother not only helped to facilitate painting at home, but Kathryn believes it was what pushed her to exhibit her pieces in the community. “I did my first art show when I was about five at the local show,” says Kathryn. After a memorable trip to the Flying Arts School when it visited Dalby, Kathryn’s love of art saw her win an art prize during her years at Fairholme College in Toowoomba and complete a BA at the University of Queensland with double major in Art History.
Kathryn was accepted for the first job she applied for when she stepped out of university and became a Cataloguer at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra. She was soon engaged and moved to Goondiwindi with her then husband. Kathryn believes her return from a post high school lifestyle to the artist she is today was challenging. “It took a while to get the spontaneity back after being engrossed in academic study and being surrounded by so much art in Canberra,” says Kathryn. She is currently inspired by thinking about ‘our’ place in the universe, by going beyond the immediate geographical place in Australia to translating this into something more universal. “I like to play with the idea that something can be many things simultaneously,” says Kathryn.
With exhibitions spanning Dubai, London, Korea and New York, Kathryn proudly explored this concept with spectators in Abu Dhabi. When Kathryn explains how people from the Middle East, Iran, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe came to see her exhibition, her expression describes the amazing conversations she encountered with different cultures and different religions about her art piece The Tree of Life, which was in her art collection then. “I sort of thought it was more about my own family tree in a sense, representative of a familiar connection to the land and so forth,” says Kathryn.
“But the tree, to a tee, every single one of these people recognised it as the tree of life and because the tree of life is a shared symbol … there was no need for any kind of superficial interpretation,” she says. Kathryn believes organising her own exhibitions has played a crucial part in her success. “Its very important to persist but also stretch yourself so when you exhibit you aren’t relying on other people,” she says.
For many exhibits, Kathryn has organised everything from marketing, public relations and launch nights from across the world as well as freighting and working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade.
For more information on Kathryn and her exhibits visit her website
Words by Kayla Millhouse | Photos by Gillian van Niekerk