Bright as a button @hi_OBUS with Rowena Martinich! (Taken with Instagram at Obüs)
Acid Tempest - Colour Storm Exhibition - Area Contemporary Art Space Inc. - 2011
Having grown up on a grazier property in rural Victoria, Rowena Martinich came to Melbourne to boarding school at the age of 12. Here, her interest in art was fostered until she went to Swinburne University and did a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. Further to that, Martinich undertook Fine Art – Painting at RMIT to an Honours level. After art school she founded and managed Area Contemporary Art Space Inc, a gallery and studio space in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Here, Martinich curated countless exhibitions and worked alongside many talented young artists. In 2006 she returned to study, undertaking an MA – Art in Public Space. This was an essential step in defining and differentiating her practice, and transferring it from being one that was contained within the gallery environment, to activating everyday urban spaces.
Martinich’s fluoro-pop gestural explosions are super large-scale abstract painting installations within architectural contexts. She uses lashings of painted colour coupled with the sheen of glass and glowing light that passes through the paintings once they are installed onto a façade. Entire streetscapes are activated with an injection of colour. Chosen environs that once were ‘just windows’ or ‘just stairwells’ or ‘dead space,’ transform into places of introduction (and for some viewers of initiation) into the world and culture of the painted mark.
With the upsizing of scale of the painted surface – so too is the size of the brush. Regular paintbrushes are replaced with mops, brooms and feather dusters, and palettes replaced with buckets of paint. In this instance Martinich doesn’t gently dip the paintbrush into the medium, but rather, she throws the bucket’s contents and pushes it about the vinyl surface. Sometimes she makes her own painting tools, sometimes she adopts chemical sprayers. Spending hours on her own in the studio, she has developed a skill, a new language of painting, a control over all of these paint-distributing-devices to create the marks she wants.
Key projects around Melbourne have been ‘Viachroma’ at Dandenong Station, ‘Chromaphos’ at Euroluce, Russell Street CBD, ‘Chromacut’ at SIGNAL Artspace, Northbank, and ‘Common Gesture,’ a five storey high work at RMIT University’s city campus.
Following her success exhibiting with Art Melbourne as “The One to Watch” in 2011, Martinich has been commissioned for multiple public and private works, participated in The State of Design Festival as a “Festival Highlight,” and was featured in The Age (Melbourne) Magazine in “Watch this face.” She has also been extensively profiled online through the likes of Desktop Magazine, Broadsheet and The Design Files. In 2011 Martinich also participated in RMIT Universities marketing campaign and was promoted as the face of RMIT Universities Postgraduate Arts Degrees.
Martinich has also undertaken major public art projects in Istanbul, Turkey and Xian Yang, China. In 2011 Martinich was invited to undertake a residency and a solo exhibition with Lorenzetti Gallery in Lyon, France. This exhibition was extremely well received by a city notorious for its mural and street art scene. The exhibition was featured in and on the cover of the “Lyon Tribune”.
Amongst completing several commissioned works, in February 2012, Martinich will be undertaking a residency at NGV Studio at Federation Square, titled “Fluoresce.” She will also be participating in the L’Oreal Fashion Festival with Obus in March, Art Melbourne in May as well as The State of Design Festival in July.
Rowena Martinich - Afterglow - Galerie Lorenzetti - Lyon - 2011