contemporary art

Fred Fowler

Australia 1980

Graffiti, Sculpture, Painting

Fred Fowler
Fred Fowler
November 30, 2014

Fred Fowler is a Melbourne based contemporary artist with a background in street art and graffiti, specialized in painting, drawing, bronze sculpture and printmaking.

Fowler was born in 1980 in Canberra, Australia. Inspired by the graffiti he saw around him in Melbourne, Fred started experimenting with tagging in his local neighborhood, at the age of 11. He began creating throw-ups and pieces under various aliases, and at 16, Fred was given the name NUROCK by his graffiti mentor, DUET. From this point on, with the name NUROCK, he began to paint regularly, on train lines and public wall. His intricate large-scale street pieces, confronting and artistic, earned him a status of a legend in Australia’s sub-cultural life.

After living in Paris and travelling throughout Europe for a year, Fred returned to Melbourne and completed a Master of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 2011. Fred’s areas of interest while studying at VCA were painting, etching and sculpture, specially the lost wax method of casting bronze sculptures.

In 2001, at age 21, Fowler held his first solo exhibition Raiders of the Lost Art at A.R.T. Gallery Eden in Melbourne. His exhibition included stencils, paintings and rock carvings. His second solo exhibition Highland Chamber at Until Never gallery in Hosier Lane, consisted five silkscreen prints, praised by gallery’s reviewers as ‘a suite of fastidiously elegant black and white ink drawings.’

Culmination of Fred’s work completed over the period of four years was his third solo exhibition Decorating the Apocalypse, a playful investigation of themes related to cultural identity. Images of masks and faces function as the primary signifiers in Fowler’ work. Through sculpture, painting and printmaking, he is questioning the ‘mythologies’ or artificial constructs surrounding issues of identity. Cheap, plastic, Chinese-manufactured toys are sourced locally before being deconstructed and re-configured, to finally emerge, through the ancient process of casting, as intricate, bronze masks. Kitsch wooden ‘primitive’ masks, found in flea markets in Paris and Melbourne, are methodically vandalized, painted and re-presented as cultural artifacts of contemporary society. He exhibited acrylic paintings and a suite of bronze masks – commercial iconography clashed with graffiti tribalism.

His latest works, featured in an exhibition named New Landscapes, consist of a series of oil paintings that use the vehicle of landscape painting to explore the relationship between native and invasive species, analogous to the effect of colonization on the indigenous population of Australia.

Fowler’s work is held in the National Gallery of Australia collection, as well as various private collections in Australia and overseas. He lives and works in Melbourne, Victoria.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2013Alliance Francais V.C.A Postgraduate Award ExhibitionVictorian College of the Arts, MelbourneGroup
2013HEATBackwoods Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2012Give, The LeadersPostgraduate Gallery, VCA, MelbourneSolo
2012Decorating the ApocalypseBackwoods Gallery, MelbourneSolo
2012VCA Masters ExhibitionVictorian College of the Arts, MelbourneGroup
2011Larger than LifeThe Substation, MelbourneGroup
2011VCA Graduate ExhibitionVictorian College of the Arts, MelbourneGroup
2011South of the BorderLo Fi Gallery, SydneyGroup
2011Everfresh ResidencyNGV Studio Space, MelbourneGroup
2011Larger Than LifeThe Substation, MelbourneGroup
2010Space InvadersNational Gallery of Australia, Canberra. (Toured Nationally)Group
2009SurfaceMichael Koro Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2009The OutsidersKristian Pithie Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2009The Felt Tip Pen ShowRear View Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2008Highland ChamberUntil Never Gallery, MelbourneSolo
2008No ComplyNo Vacancy Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2008Day of the Dead - 101 WaysMichael Koro Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2007Salon SidewaysUntil Never Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2007Another ShowHogan Gallery (Everfresh Collective), CollingwoodGroup
2007BootleggerUntil Never Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2007Mini Pieces - Melbourne Fashion WeekRoyal Exhibition Centre, MelbourneGroup
2007Refill 7MTV Gallery, SydneyGroup
2007No ComplyFederation Square, MelbourneGroup
2007LetterheadsWooden Shadow Gallery, MelbourneGroup
2006No ComplyFederation Square, MelbourneGroup
2005No ComplyRevolver, MelbourneGroup
2004Three-man show (with Tim de Haan & Marc Burstall)Croft Institute, MelbourneGroup
2003Productivism (with Jay Rankine & Marc de Jong)Fine Art Gallery of Ballarat: Contemporary SectionGroup
2002Eternity NowCube 37 Gallery, FrankstonGroup
2001Raiders Of The Lost ArtA.R.T Gallery Eden, MelbourneSolo
2001Art & the CityGamma Space Gallery, Flinders Lane, MelbourneGroup
2000Guerilla stencil & poster showCenterplace MelbourneSolo
1997Toys For JoyRoyal Children’s Hospital, MelbourneGroup