Art: Capturing the spirit of the arid zone

A painting of Fowler's Gap by Susan Severino
Monday, 22 July, 2013

The richly coloured landscape at Fowlers Gap - the only research station in the arid zone of NSW - is a drawcard for artists.

Susan Severino loves nothing more than to wander alone and on foot through the starkly beautiful rangelands of Fowlers Gap Research Station near Broken Hill.

 “I pack my painting equipment on my back, take my lunch and go walking. I like to be completely immersed in the landscape,” says the award-winning Sydney artist and UNSW Science graduate.

She hopes that through her art she can give others an appreciation of this remote, arid zone in western NSW. “I try to get people to feel as if they’re actually there, buffeted by the wind and the heat,” she says.

Six of Susan’s paintings now grace the walls of the Dean’s unit, reminding visitors of the unique research and teaching station administered by UNSW Science.

Susan, a school teacher, returned to her childhood passion of painting several years ago and will soon complete her Master of Art at the UNSW College of Fine Arts.

She first visited Fowlers Gap in 2008 on a field trip led by her painting lecturer, Peter Sharp, and she has been back every year since. Two years ago she was Artist in Residence in the Green House on the property and last year she spent a week on her own, painting, in the more remote Ochre House. “I did feel isolated, but I loved every moment of being there,” she recalls.

Talking with the scientists and engineers who are conducting research at the station is also an important part of the experience of visiting the property, she says.


Susan Severino with some of her paintings of Fowlers Gap.

UNSW Science media contact: Deborah Smith, 9385 7303, 0478 492 060,