Fields of view – Interview Peter Biram

Peter Biram


Tell us about the works you have created for this series of exhibitions.

My current body of work is exploring the recent 2009 Black Saturday bushfires this links into previous works exploring the theme of ‘land ownership’ and ‘usage’ within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction with the land. This work reads on several layers-

  1. Mark making

On this level the viewer processes the work on a surface level, that is to say the paint texture and colour of the work. The work at this level can be read in decorative terms.

  1. Subject

At this level the viewer reads the work as a landscape, within this framework the observer can interpret the geometric forms as pure decoration.

  1. Conceptual Narrative

Within this theme of land ownership I am exploring the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense both in a western/ European standpoint (In some works I use the ‘hard edged ’Motifs or symbols’ ) and the koorie perspective, (the dots).

I am also exploring the fine balance that exists in the natural environment, some of my past works explore this theme of ‘Balance.

This is to say “Order & Chaos” found within nature and the balance of power shifting between the two states.

Many of my compositions are deliberately broken into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, the fine balance of nature is placed under pressure re land “caretakership”.

Within this framework I have explored both contemporary ownership symbolized by various motifs which is usually  in the bottom half of the composition.(from a European standpoint)

The ‘hard edged’ nature of the chosen motifs or symbols’ also represents past civilizations, this presents a symbol of ‘land ownership’ in the sense of  ‘branding’ the land.

I also usually choose hard edge shapes because of its direct contrast to the soft organic nature of the bush motif. This also symbolizes human kind’s influence on the natural landscape.

How has the environment shaped the art you produce?

The concern for the natural environment has always plays a large part of my life. Art can be a powerful platform or a stage that one can express concepts or concerns. In this case I express the ever- growing concerns over the natural environment. In this form my focus is towards human kind and the relationship human kind has with the natural environment with special attention to ‘land usage’.


What does being an environmental expressionist mean to you?

I have major concerns over the future with regards over the natural environment, and art is an excellent vehicle for expressing these ideas. If we subscribe to these views one can take this to the next level, as collective voice in the form of an art movement, this is why I founded the new art movement – ‘Environmental Expressionism’ ,to more effectively pass on the message

Australian landscape is a well represented genre, what do you think Fields of View and your own work adds to the genre?

The paintings which have established a permanent place in the Australian heritage are usually those which depict the ‘typical’ Australian landscape or express an aspect of Australian character.

This is the common demoninator  which surpasses the changes in genre, style, and me  and links such paintings as Tom Roberts’ The Breakway, Arthur Boyd’s Wimmera Landscape and ShoalHaven series, Sir Hans Hysen’s Spring Early Morning, Russell Drysdale’s The Rabbiters and finally Fred Williams Upwey,Lysterfield and Pilbara series, to name a few.

Paintings themselves emerge as valuable, known and loved works but it would be impossible to present Great Australian Paintings on the basis of judgment of individual paintings. Rather, this book is a salute to the founders of Australian tradititions in art, artists whose successors are even now enriching that tradition in new ways.

The first great school of Australian painting is well represented in this volume. This was time of he ‘golden era’ of painting in the 1880’s and 1890’s, the time of artists like Roberts, Condor, Streeton and McCubbin. With the light of the French Impressionist movement, they were the first to capture the true vision of the country, to break away from the idealised interpretatons that went before.

It is my hope my work has followed, with no less distinction, by the paintings of this age – each new work I undertake will hopefully be discovering and illuminating a new element in Australian landscape or scene.

What sorts of messages are you communicating with your work?

I am an environmental expressionist painter. The paintings explore the theme of questionable land ownership and usage within an environmental framework. This relationship includes traditional and non-traditional interaction. I examine the pressure that is placed on the land in an environmental sense including the fine balance that exists in the natural environment. I usally break my paintings into two sections symbolizing the two states of chaos & order, with special attention to the effects of the Victorian bush fires of 2009.


What makes this exhibition so important people should go and see it?

Fields of View presents a variety of perspectives and perceptions about the environment, through the eyes, hearts and minds of five passionate Australian artists. Artists Leonie Ryan, Kerrie Warren, Peter Biram, together with Ursula and Werner Theinert share their individual visions, emotion’s and concepts about the environment including individual experiences of the Black Saturday bush fires.


One Response to “Fields of view – Interview Peter Biram”

  1. Leonie Ryan on February 11th, 2010 10:53 am

    Dear Peter, I really enjoyed your interview. It was very expressive and detailed. Your Bush fire series paintings are all eceptional, though I am bias to your work. Congratulations on your success to date.
    Love Leonie xxx