Life Below Water with 10 artists and a writer

Still from 'Die Slow' [Detail], Robert Crispe.

Serene. Powerful. Mysterious. Vast.

The ocean is an ever-changing, often-perplexing source of inspiration for many artists, and the hero of the latest exhibition opening at Murky Waters Studio.

Life Below Water will see 10 artists and a writer take a deep dive into the ocean and how it seeps into their work as artists living on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.

Co-curator Jo Stacey said the reef and ocean are a constant source of inspiration for established and emerging artists in North Queensland.

“There are so many fantastic artists in Townsville whose life and art practices revolve around interpreting the reef and the ocean,” said Jo.

Anemone by Jo Stacey will appear in Life Below Water

“The contributors include some people we see regularly and others that we thought are just so expressive.

Life Below Water coincides with World Ocean Day on 8 June and has freed contributing artists from the need to comply with any one medium.

“We’ve got two-dimensional works through to sculptural works, video and beautiful digital images,” Jo said.

The visual works are underpinned by an essay by Harriet Sparks.

“Harriet has been published quite a bit from conservation articles through to Frankie and Peppermint magazines,” said Jo.

“We thought it would just be nice to have a didactic panel featuring an essay. Visual artists are great at expressing themselves visually but having someone put their ideas in writing will reach another audience.”

King Parrot Fish, Sue Luxon

The exhibition is just one element of Murky Waters’ World Ocean Day activities. The Studio will also host an ocean-themed PechaKucha night, gouache reef fish painting workshops with Sue Luxon and a screening of the 1955 film Revenge of the Creature by Townsville Classic Films Inc.

“That should be a bit of fun,” said Jo of the film screening.

“Apparently, it’s before it’s time – it’s about an ocean creature that has been worked on by scientists and begins morphing into something that they all regret. We will also be privileged to see Clint Eastwood in his first appearance – it’s not a starring role, but he is there.”

Jo said the diverse program and new collaborations would offer a range of insights into our local environment and the importance of conservation.

“It’s a really great opportunity to see some beautiful, expressive art about the ocean and to what Townsville has to offer on the local sphere.”


Life Below Water is open to the public on Sunday mornings until 26 June.
For the full program, visit their Facebook page.

Life Below Water is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

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