Inspired by her country surroundings west of Gin Gin, local artist Larissa Dabrowski celebrates the Australian landscape in her new exhibition at Cross Gallery, opening Saturday 8 July.
Larissa moved to the region in 2021 to work for the Bundaberg Regional Council as a Library Assistant at Gin Gin Community Hub.
While there, she found it was a fantastic opportunity to connect with the community and put her creative skills to good use.
“The staff there were amazing and so genuinely supportive of my creativity, enabling me to do display work for the library and signs for the Hub and community events,” Larissa said.
However, her lifelong dream since she was a teenager was to pursue a career as a fulltime artist, and so late 2022 Larissa took the brave decision to follow that path.
“It came down to, ‘if not now, then when?',” she said.
“I have incredibly supportive family and friends whose faith in me helped me have faith in myself.”
“Self-doubt has probably been the biggest shadow along the way to pursuing art fulltime.”
As a practicing artist for over 25 years, Larissa’s art has grown and changed in response to her life circumstances.
She recalls being hooked on art making from the very beginning, with the completion of her first sculpted pieces, an assemblage of an old flue, broken laptop and wire to represent our reliance on technology.
“Over the years there have been periods of intense creation and those of very dry spells,” she said.
“The last eleven years or so I have consistently practised and noticed that I'd really developed my own style of landscape painting over the last three years.”
Larissa’s love of travelling throughout Australia has heavily influenced her art.
“I love our country, particularly the desert and the space it affords one to dream and create,” she said.
“I see infinite beauty and boundless possibilities, there is never a dull moment out there.”
“Travel has grown my practice in those obvious ways like subject matter and composition, and those practical applications like painting size and utilising a limited palette.”
“Without much room in the van, I worked on small, detailed pieces in colours I'd mixed from a pretty limited palette.”
Larissa’s art practice explores a love of the Australian landscape that resonates deeply with her.
“I feel it in every cell and part of me and while it excites me, in the same moment, it stills me,” she said.
“I experience our landscape as richly textured and heavily detailed, and I love the challenge of trying to capture “the feeling” of that.”
Larissa’s latest inspiration, and the subject matter of her new exhibition “jack of bark & lichen rocks” comes from much closer to home, her 20 acre property in Horse Camp.
“This exhibition is particularly special as it's all inspired by my backyard,” she said.
“I mean that literally; all the Bark inspired pieces are from the trees on our property, as the Lichen Rocks pieces are inspired by the lichen covered rocks near our house.”
Her local region continues to inspire Larissa in multiple ways.
“Aside from the physical, environmental influence in terms of subject matter, it's the community spirit and connectedness that has also inspired my practice,” she said.
“There are so many opportunities to be supported in the Arts in this region and so many people willing to help with that.”
Larissa’s exhibition opens at Cross Gallery, 3 Electra Street, Bundaberg on Saturday 8 July, and runs until 18 July.