Artist in Focus - Getting to know Loribelle Spirovski

This week we look at the work of Loribelle Spirovski, an artist who has gone from strength to strength and whose evocative works convey multiple stories across the canvas.

In her own words, Loribelle talks to us about her journey and process...

Loribelle Spirovski ‘Etudes’, oil on canvas and linen, 40 x 30cm each, finalist, Mosman Art Prize 2016


It wasn't until my early 20's that I started to think about my formative years in the Philippines. Since moving to Australia at the age of 9, I had not dwelt on the time I spent in Manila and how the effects of those experiences began to reveal themselves in the way I perceived the world, the kind of art that I was drawn to, and the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.

In 2018, I created a series of works that spoke directly of those experiences. With images sourced from religious paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, spliced and cauterised within abstract spaces, I began to explore those formative experiences in a way that enabled me to regain a sense of ownership and control.


Loribelle Spirovski dream of innocence (detail)


Manila is a place full of contrasts and contradictions, and so the paintings that I started to create naturally became imbued with a myriad of influences that are incongruous and, in some instances, clash. There are sacred symbols and imagery mixed with violent slashes of colour. There are works clearly situated in the 'real world' mixed with concoctions of an imaginative child's mind.  


Works on paper, all pen, 21 x 29cm, clockwise from top left:  Mohawk, Sketch after Bacon, Hunger 1, When two become one, Scream, Pieta


There is beauty too in the spirit of my home country - a country that has never stopped hoping, even in what seems like insurmountable odds. In the Philippines, guilt and hope are in a cycle in which one relies on the other; deprivation spawns hope and worship which in turn causes a feeling of smallness and awe in presence of the church, as can be seen in the sprawling, bleeding statue of Christ in my home church of Santa Ana which hypnotised me as a child.



Artistically, it was Francis Bacon who showed me how I could best translate these fraught images from my mind to the canvas. It is in his sense of space that I was able to develop my own language. Practising as a contemporary painter presents an interesting challenge of having to build upon the innovations of the 20th century. One cannot help but collage. In many ways, finding meaning in collage - in which everything has 'already been done' - a re-piecing of existing ideas and shapes - is the challenge for a young artist in an era when art has never been more visible and yet drowned out by the deluge of material that we are presented with every day.




You can see more of Loribelle's work and pieces for sale in our artist section.

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