Jim Ulrich

Mekong Lights

3 November — 10 December 2016
Opening: Thursday, November 3, 6:00 — 8:00 pm



‘Religion and science have their answers but I prefer to dwell in the land of illusion’ —Jim Ulrich

From his studio in Banchang Rayong, Thailand Jim Ulrich has been exploring the Mekong lights, a confounding phenomenon that occurs over the Mekong River once a year. Red globes seem to emerge from the water into the night sky. Locals claim this is the Naga serpent sending the people’s prayers to Buddha. Scientists speculate it is some form of phosphine or methane gas. Regardless of the perspective, onlookers have been so inspired by this otherworldly event that now thousands attend the Naga Fireball Festival each year to watch the globes rise in awe.

In 2008 and 2009 Ulrich made two films on the Mekong Lights, but the works on view at Fox Galleries are the first by the artist employing painting as their medium. The multi-layered paintings are both earthly and galactic and excite the viewer’s imagination. Ulrich’s works are an experiment in chance processes and do not reference recognisable forms. Viewed up close they are textured and raw but with distance their full gestalt activates and they become expansive skies of worlds unknown.

A self-described ‘painter, lecturer, traveller and visual arts researcher’, Ulrich’s inspiration stems in particular from his interest in natural phenomena in places as varied as California, Thailand and Northern Australia.

Collected by public and private alike over the last 40 years, this is the first major exhibition of new paintings in Australia for Ulrich since he was featured in ‘Canadians at Kakadu’ at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory in 1989. It is the first exhibition of new works since ‘Destination Drawing’ at the University of New South Wales Gallery in 2003, which travelled to Beijing.


Hidden Treasures, Selection from The Red Deer College Permanent Art Collection, City Centre Stage Gallery, Red Deer, Canada

40 Years Retrospective 1973-2013, Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Canada
Made in Calgary 1970’s, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada.

Connections to Collections: The Artists Circle of Calgary, The Triangle Gallery of Visual Art, Calgary, Canada

Fly Over, Narai Gallery, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand

Post Digital Painting, The Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, Canada


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