Louise Forthun

The collision of urban and natural themes first struck me in Tokyo in the summer of 1992 where I was making a visual record of the built environment. I became entranced by Japanese textile design and pattern which are based on natural forms and set about constructing a series of multi-paneled works on paper, each depicting representations of Japan, the Japanese city, the chrysanthemum, stone walls and pebble pathways. So began my obsession with the urban versus the natural world – an obsession that
continues today.


Abstraction, according to art critic Bob Nickas, can be thought of as the “filter” through which the recognizable passes and is transformed. I am a visual artist who makes paintings that explore abstraction’s objective as well as non-objective dimensions. My paintings can refer to the identifiable through photography or be purely about themselves. In the pursuit of a personal communicative mode and the desire to define space I draw certain elements from each discipline in order to begin a painting. It is my way to draw together, that which is recognizable with the immediacy of painting and to look at the familiar with new eyes.

One Person Exhibitions

2008       Shadowlands, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney

2007       Town Paintings, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane

2005       Paintings, Heiser Gallery, Brisbane

2004       Paintings, Gow Langsford Gallery, Sydney

2004       Metropolitan Flora, Horti Hall Gallery, Melbourne

2004       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

2000       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1998       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1996       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1994       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1992       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1990       Paintings, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

1987       Paintings, George Paton Gallery,
University of Melbourne

1985       Paintings, Pinacotheca, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions

2012       The Enchanted Dome, The State Library of Victoria

2012       Melbourne Art Fair

2011       The Futile City, Heide Museum of Modern Art

2011       Story Bridge, UQ Art Museum

2011       Illuminated City, National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne

2011       Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery (Also finalist in 2009/2007/2005/2003)

2009       The Shilo Project, The Ian Potter Museum of Art,
University of Melbourne

2009       Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize,
Bendigo Art Gallery
(Also finalist in 2007/2005/2003)

2008       UP, What Height Melbourne? City Gallery,
Melbourne Town Hall

2008       Primary Views, Artists curate the Monash University
Collection, MUMA

2007       Auckland Art Fair, New Zealand

2006       Australia – Micro Macro City, pavilion at
Giardini Biennial of Architecture, Venice, Italy

2006       10th International Biennale, Australian pavilion

2006       Fletcher Jones Art Prize, Geelong Gallery

2006       Multiplicity, Victorian Tapestry Workshop

2004       Imants Tillers, John Nixon, Louise Forthun’,
Multiple Box Sydney

2002       Good Vibrations: The Legacy of Op Art in Australia,
Heide MOMA, Melbourne

2002       Spitting and Biting, Monash University Gallery,

2002       2000 National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery

2002       Celebrating the Exquisite Corpse, Bendigo Art Gallery and Regional Art Gallery tour

1999       Gendai, Glen Eira City Gallery, Melbourne

1998       Yoin – Reverberations between Australia and Japan, Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo and RMIT University Storey Hall Gallery, Melbourne

1998       Graphic, Monash University

1997       Fragments – Relation, Gallery Lunami,
Tokyo, Japan

1997       Screen, Monash University Gallery

1997       Deacons, Graham and James / Arts 21 Award,
University of Melbourne (Also finalist in 1996)

1996       Metroscape, Storey Hall, RMIT University

1996       Geelong Art Prize, Geelong Art Gallery

1996       Doug Moran Portrait Prize, National Gallery of Victoria and national tour

1996       Vibration, Beijing, Hanoi, Seoul and Melbourne
arranged by Asialink and the AGWA

1995       Alice Prize, Alice Springs Northern Territory

1994       The McCaughey Prize, National Gallery of Victoria,

1993       The Moet and Chandon Travelling Fellowship Exhibition, Australian state tour
(Also finalist in 1992/1990/1989)

1992       The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art,
Adelaide Art Gallery

1990       Witness – A travelling exhibition curated by
Kevin Murray, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney
and Canberra

1990       Scotchman’s Hill Vineyard Art Prize,
Geelong Art Gallery

Selected Publications

                 Rosemary Hawker and John Macarthur,
NEW v2 – The Uni of Queensland Art Museum, 'Love Story', p53
Markus Jung, trans 20, 'Cityspeak',
February 2012, p 105
Ashley Crawford, ar Architecture and the Arts, 'Suburban Unease', June/July, 2012 p46
Ashley Crawford, Australian Art Collector, 'On The Grid', Issue 58, Oct-Dec, 2011, p 170
Phil Brown, Brisbane News, Super Structure,
June 11, 2011
Frances Johnson, The Age, Sightlines,
September 12, 2008
Penny Webb, The Age, M, Visual Arts,
Nov 11, 2007

                 Leon van Schaik, DESIGN CITY, MELBOURNE, pub. John Wiley and Sons Ltd England 2006
Tracey Clement, Sydney Morning Herald,
Critics Pick, Louise Forthun, Metro October 8-14, 2004, p27
Penny Webb, The Age, ‘Spatial Illusion of Forthun’s vibrant hues’, A3, June 29, 2004, p8
Ashley Crawford, The Age, ‘The city, in fluid detail’, April 9, 2004, The Age Review p7
Penny Webb, The Age, ‘Sightlines: Forthun’s Spectral City’ A3, May 7, p8
Kirsten Rann, Imprint, Autumn 2003 Vol 38/No 1, Viridian Press: Forthun, Tillers and Tomescu
Katherine McDonald, Art and Australia, vol 40/2, summer 2002, ‘Art Market’, p298
My Thuat (Fine Arts Today), Hanoi, Vietnam,
August, 2000
Robert Nelson, The Age, ‘Marks of Tribalism’ October, 11, 2000, Today Review p7
Ashley Crawford, Monument, ‘urban abstract’, February, 2000, p30
Ashley Crawford, The Age, ‘Abstract slant on road maps’, March 29, 2000
Leon van Schaik, Photofile, ‘Terrain Vague a Melbourne reflection on sites of abandonment’,
Oct 1999, p22
Arturo Silva, The Japan Times, ‘Freeze frames and blank expressions’, p 13, Feb 15, 1998
Lauren Martin, Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Eight who have designs on city’, Nov 21, 1997
Joanne Rogers, Daily Telegraph, ‘Artists for the Olympic frames’, Nov 21, 1997
Arkitekturtidsskrift B 'Imaginary Australia', Arhus Denmark, No. 52/53, 1996
Robyn McKenzie, The Age, November 6,1996
Jan Bryant, Aedon, 'Seductive Surfaces, Pulsating Depths', Melbourne University, November 1996
Jan Bryant, Artworks, October 1996
Chris Boyd, The Big Issue, 'Louise Forthun, Works on Linen', No 12, 9-29 December, 1996
Mark Pennings, Metroscape II catalogue,
June 1996
Seva Frangos & Margaret Moore, Vibration catalogue, The Asialink Centre, 1995
Alan and Susan McCulloch (eds), The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, NSW, 1994
Robert Rooney, The Australian, April 23, 1994
Christopher Heathcote, The Age, April 20, 1994
Susan McCulloch, Herald-Sun, April 27, 1994
Dominique Hecq, Tolarno Galleries cat,
May 1,1994
Julie Ewington, Adelaide Biennale cat. 1992
Stephanie Radok, Artlink, vol 12, no 1, 1992
Jo Saurin, Sydney Morning Herald,
February 8, 1991
Kevin Murray, Witness cat, 1990
Jenny Zimmer, Sunday Herald, February 18, 1990
Jenny Zimmer, Sunday Herald, April 22, 1990
Gary Catalano, The Age, May 2, 1990
Ronald Miller, The Herald, May 2, 1990
Ronald Miller, The Herald, June 6, 1990
Andrew Seward, Agenda, 13/14 October, 1990
Sasha Grishin, 'Canberra Times',
November 18, 1990
Jenny Zimmer, Sunday Herald, December 2, 1990
Jonah Jones, Vogue, April, 1989
Jenny Zimmer, Sunday Herald November 13, 1989 Robert Rooney, The Australian, September, 1989
Kevin Murray, Transition, RMIT, Department of Architecture, Summer, 1987

Awards and Commissions

2011       Commissioned to paint a triptych for Lyon Housemuseum

2009       Commissioned to create a 12.6 metre wall painting
for Lyons architecture office

2007       Arts Projects grant – City of Melbourne

2004       Rome Studio at the British School of Rome,
Australia Council grant

2003       City of Melbourne Arts Grant

2001       Creation of New Work Grant, Arts Victoria

1998       Commissioned to create a limited edition artist print
for ‘Sydney 2000 Olympics’

1995       Arts and Cultural Development Project Grant,
Arts Victoria

1991       Tokyo Studio, VACB.


Baillieu Myer Collection
Ballarat Art Gallery
Bendigo Art Gallery
Benalla Art Gallery
BHP Billition Collection
City of Melbourne
CRA Collection
Deakin University
Heide MOMA
La Trobe University
Lyon Housemuseum
Monash University
Museum of Brisbane
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Parliament House
Queensland Art Gallery
RACV Collection
State Library of Victoria
University of Queensland Art Museum
Private Collections


2000       MA Fine Art (Painting), RMIT University, Melbourne (1998-1999)

1987       Graduate Diploma (Painting), Victorian College of
the Arts, Melbourne (1985-1986)

1982       BA Fine Art (Painting), RMIT University, Melbourne (1979-1981)


1993 to   Lecturer in painting and drawing, RMIT, VCA

2000       and Monash University