New work

In a style which somehow manages to combine the atavistic vibrational energy-fields of indigenous Australian art with the sparse brevity of classical Arabic grammar - Richard Butler-Bowdon has executed a suite of portrait paintings which overtly and subvertly allude to issues such as Immortality, Race and questions of Truth and character portrayal in literary fiction.

Art Exhibition previously on at Until Never in Flinders Lane precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Wednesday 17 June 2009 to Saturday 25 July 2009
Launch Wednesday 17 June 2009, 6 to 8pm

The Heiress image

Event published by anonymous on Monday 17 March 2008.
Contact the publisher.

Who are these people depicted in Richard B-B’s eponymous exhibition? 

Their names are not mentioned they are given only titles like ‘The Heiress’ and ‘The Princess’.

Are they true likenesses of real persons or are they characters in an as yet unwritten novel or drama? Or do they perhaps inhabit a Netherworld of semi-fictionality ?

In post-Pharaonic Egypt the wealthy members of the population lived lives culturally influenced by their colonisers the Romans. Like much of the civilised world at that time Egypt had become a satellite of Rome. These worthy citizens commissioned local Greek artisans to paint funerary portraits of themselves which were attached to mummies of the person portrayed when he or she died. The populace still indulged in the pre-colonial customs of their ancestors. Maintaining their indigenous Egyptianess these portraits served a dual purpose : They became identikit passport photos recognised by Anubis the jackal-headed death god on their journey to the Kingdom of Osiris and secondly they served as mementoes of the departed for the bereaved family.

These so-called Faiyum portraits are the earliest painted portraits to have survived and their seemingly contemporary vitality are a product of the culturally hybrid society of their origin. The portraits presented by the artist here and now in Melbourne 2009 have resonance with these works executed two millenia ago.

Richard Butler-Bowdon has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Gallery 4A, Experimental Art Foundation, First Floor, Gertrude Contemporary Art Space, Centre for Contemporary Photography, BUS, Citylights, Temple Bar-Dublin, ROOM Project-Rotterdam Netherlands and HOME-Prague Czech Republic. This is his second solo show at Until Never.


Until Never
2nd flr 3-5 Hosier Lane (Enter from Rutledge Lane) Melbourne

Gallery hours :: Wednesday to Saturday 12-6pm