Installation view of Julia Trybala’s work on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Sean Fennessy

Julia Trybala

Julia Trybala
(b. 1992, Melbourne, lives and works in Melbourne, Victoria)

Julia Trybala draws inspiration from everyday life, including personal experiences, relationships and conversations with family and friends. Working in painting and drawing, the early-career artist’s figurative practice maintains an astute dialogue with art history, questioning how feminine bodies have been represented across time and how these bodies occupy physical space in art and the world.

First exhibited as part of a suite of new works for Sydney Contemporary, Mother, 2022, depicts an intimate subject on an epic scale. Trybala’s oil painting transforms corporeal forms into a fluid landscape that is both tender and unsettling. Her exacting compositions are often cropped and cramped, with bodies distorted and constrained by the physical limits of the canvas. Invoking a canon of female bodies, Trybala reclaims techniques and tropes from the master painters, including religious iconography and symbols, Classical reclining nudes and bronze sculptures, as well as post-Impressionist landscapes and historical scenes. The result is at once vulnerable and fragile, luscious and liquid, claustrophobic and oppressive.

‘Painting for me is wrapped up in projecting my own desires, fantasies and fears,’ Trybala explains. ‘I’ve used this as a way of exploring motherhood as a concept – my mother, being mothered, what it might mean to become a mother.’ With a keen awareness of the political dimensions of representation, Trybala explores how maternal care and labour are intertwined.

Trybala has been exhibiting regularly since 2015, with recent solo shows at Garten in Como, Italy (2022), and Station Gallery in Melbourne (2021). She has held exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong and Perth, as well as internationally in Singapore, France and Italy. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art from RMIT University in 2016 and was a finalist in the 2021 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Award. Her work is held in private collections in Australia and internationally.