A conversation with nature, 2011


Eric Lobbecke’s upcoming exhibition at NG Art Gallery, Conversations with Nature, draws upon his recent trip to Poland where the artist visited the castle from which his father was banished during World War II. “The Russians threw my dad out of it, so he fled with his family to Vienna.” Lobbecke goes on to explain, “it was interesting because the façade of it was beautiful, but around the back all the sheds and barns were crumbling under the pressure of the natural world. This Imperial artefact had buckled and been taken over by nature. I realised that nature is always going to triumph over man.”

This exhibition is a visual testimony to an intensely fantastical natural world that calls all the shots. “It’s taken a life of it’s own – it’s constantly growing,”. Conversations with Nature, offers up intriguing paintings that explore the relationship between humans and the world they inhabit. Enormous cacti swallow smiling faces, anonymous figures grow heads of roses and one man is left struggling to hold the weight of a delicate gumleaf. A political cartoonist come serious painter, Lobbecke’s work is a study of contrasts – clearly informed by his expertise in illustration yet distinct from it. What remains perfectly intact at the centre of each work is a deeply personal questioning of how nature can be so complex yet so beautiful.

As a multifaceted exhibition, Lobbecke’s paintings hang beside hand-painted ceramics and underneath a giant chandelier made from alfoil roses whilst his interactive blog, hirethehandthatdraws.wordpress.com, is projected onto the gallery walls. Bringing a third dimension to Conversations with Nature, the blog invites audiences to request what they would like to see grown/drawn. As people post requests, Eric illustrates and a mystical garden full of the strange and the exotic has developed.

Born in Vienna, now living and working in Australia, Lobbecke has become a celebrated emerging painter on the contemporary scene. Eric has been the winner of significant art prizes such as the prestigious Walkley Award, Artists Association’s award for Best Symbolic Illustration alongside being named News Limited’s Artist of the Year. He has also been a finalist in the Dobell Prize for drawing. His work continues to gain critical attention and is housed in various major collections in Australia.

Lisa Omagari, Arts Writer,