Keith Cowlam

I arrived in Australia in 1977, the Qantas plane door opened. I was hooked with the cerulean sky and the crackling heat. The intense light gave everything a new clarity, these observations I wanted to paint.

My first paintings were suburban studies; people at bus stops, gardeners watering their lawns and bowlers, at play, on the bowling greens. I wanted to express the apparent quiet and safety of Australian suburbs.

In my travels of Australia I was drawn to landscapes that have been touched by human intervention. The farm buildings, the sheds and their yards, all inspire me to create work that is Australian. The trees around these properties are often non indigenous which refer to our European roots. This holds a certain fascination for me because it is all part of conquering and controlling the environment.

The way I do this is to use a realistic style that expresses a high degree of clarity and detail. I use strong and high contrasting colours that exaggerate the effect of light and emphasis the form.

—Keith Cowlam, 2009


Solo exhibitions

2010 Jackman Gallery, St Kilda

2009 Jackman Gallery, St Kilda

2008 Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide

2004 Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide

1990 Bridge Street Gallery, Sydney

1988 Bridge Street Gallery, Sydney

1986 Greenhill Galleries, Perth

1985 Greenhill Galleries, Adelaide

1984 Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney

1983 Australia Galleries, Melbourne

1983 Greenhill Galleries, Perth

1983 Studio 20 Print Gallery, Adelaide

1982 Bonython Gallery, Adelaide


2008 Finalist Fleurieu Biennale Art Prize

2008 Finalist Fleurieu Peninsula Vista Art Prize

2006 Finalist Fleurieu Biennale Art Prize

1989 Victor Harbor Council Award

1989 Finalist Wynne Prize

1988 Clare Valley Watercolour Prize

1988 Elizabeth City Art Prize

1988 Victor Harbor Art Prize

1983 Fremantle Print Award

1983 Stirling Festival Print Award

1982 Whyalla Arts Council Prize

1980 West Lakes Art Prize

1980 Victor Harbor Art Prize

1980 Ethel Barringer Memorial Prize

1979 Pelican Prize


Art Gallery South Australia

Maitland Gallery NSW

Fremantle Arts Centre

Whyalla Arts Council

Hamilton Collection

Art Bank Collection

Private and Corporate Collections in UK, USA and Japan including:

Coopers & Lybrand, IBM, Mayne Nickless, Shell Oil, Industrial Equity Ayers Finniss, United Airlines Melbourne Airport, Adelaide International Airport and Hardy’s Wines.