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31° 12.19’ E 120° 17.32’ 

Near Boorabin Rock, CY O’Connor Golden Pipeline, Great Eastern Highway, Western Australia. Or S 31° 12.19’ E 120° 17.32’ 

Nien Schwarz

I taught environmental art at Edith Cowan University for 18 years. Since 1981 I’ve cooked for and supported geoscience mapping and sampling expeditions across the Canadian arctic and Australian outback. Far-ranging wanderings across diverse terrains fill my life with wonder.


My migrant background combined with interdisciplinary interests, particularly the Earth Sciences, ecology, economics, and human rights, inform my wide-ranging arts. Artworks might incorporate the material essence of mined places including hand-collected and prepared earth pigments and displaced botanical matter. I repurpose diverse found objects in dialogue with contemporary concepts of landscape-related art. Resulting small objects, mixed media installations, video with sound works, hand-stitched wearables, and occasional commissions, interrogate the intersections of the nonhuman and human world, prompting questions about where we are, who we are, and what will sustain us into the future. 


Nien schwarz Artist CV



1999  PhD (Visual Arts), Beyond Familiar Territory, Australian National University. 

1994  BFA Double Honours, Visual Arts and Art History (First Class), UVIC, BC, Canada


Solo + significant installations

2022  In Situ at Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth

2011  Radicle in Dialogues with Landscapes, 2011 Perth Festival, UWA grounds

2008  Earth Matters at Turner Galleries, Perth

2006  Over My Shoulder at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)

2003  Transpose at Spectrum, Perth

2001  Promised Land. Key exhibitor in Perth International Arts Festival, The Church Gallery, Claremont. Touring with Art on the Move to regional centres: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (2004), The Bank Midland (2004), Goldfields Arts Centre Kalgoorlie (2003), Bunbury Regional Art Galleries (2003), Geraldton Reginal Gallery (2002), Vancouver Arts Centre Albany (2002), Katanning Gallery (2002) 

2001  Wh-eat Metis 3 in National Exhibitions of Science and Art. Collaboration with Murray Gibbs, Fremantle Arts Centre

1999  Beyond Familiar Territory at Canberra Museum & Gallery

1996  Bauxite at Canberra Contemporary Arts Space, Manuka

1995  Backbone 3 at de Vaalserberg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

1995  Backbone 2 at Canberra Contemporary Arts Space, Manuka



2021  Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) printed glass facade

2018  Place that glistens for the City of Joondalup Art Collection 

2017  Core Values at Perth Core Library, DMIRS, DLGSCI Percent for Art Scheme (brochure) 

2006  Transpose John Curtin Gallery Art Collection, Curtin University

2003  3 x 3 Urban Art, Forest Chase, City of Perth, Dept. Culture and the Arts 

1999  ACT Dept. of Environment, Tidbinbilla Visitor's Centre custom flooring

1998  ACT Dept. Urban Services, Civic Lighting and Signage. Canberra City bus interchange beacon. 

1997  Moving Territory (16-passenger lift), Canberra Museum and Gallery, ACT Public Art 


Group exhibitions (selected)

2023  (upcoming) sTrATa Gallery 152, York, Western Australia

2021  Tectonics, online

2021  Solastalgia at Lost Eden, Dwellingup

2021  Rare Craft Gallery 152, York, Western Australia 

2021  We must get together some time, Indian Ocean Craft Triennial, IOTA 2021 

2021  On Revolution at Gallery Central, Perth

2020  Hanging by a Thread at Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth

2017  34th Annual Sculpture Survey, Gomboc Gallery, 11 June – 2 July 2017

2017  Silent Speaks – Forrest Chase, Roe 8 protest, directed by Jennifer Kornberger

2016  Field working slow making, Spectrum Project Space, Edith Cowan University

2016  Direct Address Land Dialogues, Eastern Riverina Arts, Wagga Wagga

2016  Call of the Sea at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, Fremantle

2015  Bunbury Biennale Bunbury Regional Galleries

2015  Seven seasons in the field in Scene at Nyisztor Gallery, Melville

2014  My Own Executioner, curated by Ron Nyisztor, Mundaring Arts Centre

2014  InConversation at Spectrum Project Space

2014  Horizon: Exploring the west coast, the Clipperton Project, Fremantle Arts Centre

2014  Canopy: Into the forest Mundaring Arts Centre

2014  Becoming, University of Shanghai Science and Technology (USST)

2013  Pure Contemplation Without Knowledge 5 (PCWK5), Nyisztor Studio, Melville

2012  Japan and Australia Sculpture Exchange: Choju Contemporary Art, Kyoto, Zuiunan Gallery, Kyoto, Kaede Gallery, Osaka

2012  Joondalup Invitational Art Award

2012  Shopfronts on Beaufort, Gallery Central and EPRA initiative

2012  How to Talk with a Mountain, Paper Mountain, Awesome Festival, Northbridge

2012  WA Photographic Book Survey, Perth Centre for Contemporary Photography

2012  Conservatorium, Paper Mountain, Northbridge, Fringe World Festival

2011  Dialogues with Landscape (curated by Katie Lenanton) Perth Festival, UWA

2011  Artists for Peace (curator Pauline Williams), Moores Building, Fremantle

2011  Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

2011  Home Open (curators: C. Hill, C. Cavaniglia, B. Honey), Fremantle Arts Centre

2010  PICA Salon, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

2010  Get smART, John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University

2010  Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

2008  Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

2007  Paperartzi, Vancouver Art Gallery, Albany

2006  Sensation, City of Perth & Taipei exchange, Central Gallery, Perth

2006  Chart, John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University

2006  Sculpture Survey 2006, Gomboc Gallery, Middle Swan, WA

2006  Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

2006  My Own Executioner, Mundaring Arts Centre, Mundaring, Australia

2006  Art in Bloom, City of Perth

2005  Transpose in Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

2004  On the beach at Maritime Museum, Fremantle

2003  Transpositions Art on the Move touring exhibition to: IASKA Kellerberrin,

Mandurah Performing Arts Space, Katanning Art Gallery, Geraldton Regional Art

Gallery, Narrogin Art Gallery, Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance

Collectables (curated by Andrew Nicholls), The Moores Building, Fremantle

2002  Initial Spectrum (curated by Domenico de Clario), Spectrum Project Space

2002  Transpositions Dutch Artists in Western Australia, Western Australia Museum

2001  Metis 2001: Wasted, Fremantle Arts Centre

2001  Uglieland at The Moores Building, Fremantle

1999  Vital Signs Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town University

1999  Vital Signs Stargard Szczecinski Museum, Szczecinski, Poland

1998  Canberra National Sculpture Forum (curated by David Watt)

1998  ACUADS Project Space RMIT Project Space, Melbourne

1998  Vital Signs Photospace Gallery, Canberra School of Art, Australia

1997  Mapping the Comfort Zone (curator Vivonne Thwaites), Artspace, Adelaide

1997  Nien Schwarz and Hanh Ngo, Canberra School of Art Gallery

1996  Nomadia, de Vaalserberg, Rotterdam

1996  The 12th Tamworth Fibre/Textile Biennial, Tamworth Regional Gallery (touring Campbelltown, Dubbo, Bathurst, Toowoomba, Broken Hill)

1996  Response to Manifesta 1, Duende, Rotterdam



Janet Holmes à Court Collection

Edith Cowan University

Curtin University

Chamber of Minerals and Energy, Western Australia

Gomboc Gallery 

Private collections: Berlin, Fremantle, Sydney, Canberra


Artist residencies

2021  Fremantle Arts Centre Ceramics Studio

2013  Fremantle Arts Centre

1999  Canberra School of Art, Textiles Studio (graduate in residence)



2016  field working slow making at Spectrum Project Space, (Holly Story, Nalda Searles, Sharyn Egan, Annette Nykiel, George Karpathakis, Nandi Chinna, Perdita Phillips, Nien Schwarz)

2015  The materials murmur, Spectrum Project Space

2006  Floating, artists: Theo Koning, Rick Vermey, Richard Woldendorp, Rinske Car, Aadje Bruce, Hans Arkeveld) Fremantle Arts Centre Ceramics Studio


Bibliography (selected)

2021  Drummond, Sarah. Plant Women Roaming. In P. Phillips & A. Nykiel (Eds.), We Must Get Together Some Time (pp. 3-5). Lethologica Press.

2021  Pryor, Gregory. Shedding, dwelling, making: the artist collective We Must Get Together Some Time. In P. Phillips & A. Nykiel (Eds.), We Must Get Together Some Time (pp. 29-32). Lethologica Press.

2021  Seesaw. Sustainable artworks yield poignant results. 15 Mar 2021

2017  Government of WA, Department of Finance. Perth Core Library.

2017  Government of WA, Department of Mines and Petroleum. Artworks brighten Perth Core Library.

2012  City of Joondalup, 2012 Invitation Art Award, exhibition catalogue

2011  Uhlmann, P. Dialogues with landscape, Artlink v. 31(2), p. 150

2010  Fremantle Arts Centre “Home open exhibition catalogue

2007  Cook, R. Over my shoulder: Nien Schwarz in Perth, Art Monthly, April, p. 9-12

2006  Williams, P. Cartographies. In P. Williams & B. Cotter (Eds.), Chart (pp. 4-14). Bentley, W.A.: John Curtin Gallery

2006  de Clario, D. Southness: a note from Valparaiso, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), solo exhibition catalogue

2006  Pryor, Gregory. Drilling into Vermeer, Earth matters, Turner Galleries, solo exhibition catalogue

2005  Baxter, M. 2005. Sculpture by the Sea: artists and the public converge on Cottesloe Beach, Perth for the WA incarnation of the famous Bondi Beach event, 17–28 March, Artlink, v. 25(3)

2006  Spencer, R. Taking stock of human cargo, The West Australian Weekend Extra magazine, May 20, p. 13 

2006  Spencer, R. Insightful works a shore thing, The West Australian Weekend Extra magazine, March 18, p. 13

2005  Bevis, S. Art on the sand rivals Cottesloe’s tanned torsos, The West Australian, March 9, p. 3

2001  McLean, Ian. Promised land: Nien Schwarz at The Church Gallery", Artlink, v. 21(2), p. 89

2001  O'Brien, Sophie. 2001 Perth International Art Festival Visual Arts Guide, p. 13-14

2001  Art events addressing ecological issues, Artlink, v. 21(3), p. 70

2001  Gauntlett, K. For Nien art's clearly in the bag The West Australian, Feb 5, p. 11

2001 Mateer, John. Earth: Perth International Arts Festival", Art Monthly, March

2001  State Salinity Council of Western Australia. Project Wh-Eat, Metis 2001: Wasted, CSIRO, Exhibitions of Science and Art, exhibition catalogue, p. 78-9

1999  O’Hehir, A. Art: Beyond familiar territory, Muse, April, p. 14-15

1998  Canberra National Sculpture Forum 98, exhibition catalogue, Canberra School of Art 

1998  Barron, S. "Diversions from the ordinary", Canberra Times, May 11

1998  Bromfield, D. "Sights to make you soar", The West Australian Big Weekend magazine, Feb 10, 2001, p. 6

1998  Clarke, D. Canberra National Sculpture Forum, Art Monthly, May, p. 10-11

1998  Rolfe, M. and D. Brine. Twelfth Tamworth Fibre/Textile Biennial, Tamworth City Gallery, exhibition catalogue.

1998  Talbot, J. Public art at the Canberra Museum and Gallery", Artlink, v. 18(12), p. 68-69

1997  Talbot, J. ACT Public Art Program", National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) Newsletter, Dec, p. 4-6

1997  Thwaites, V. Mapping the comfort zone: the dream and the real”, Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, exhibition catalogue

1997  Kenneally, C. Post-Colonial dreaming Artlink, v. 17(3), p. 74-76

1996  Wood-Conroy, D. "The indelible artisan: Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial 1996", Object, No. 1, 1997


Professional affiliations (current)

2019  Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Humanities, Edith Cowan University

2016  Sculpture by the Sea, National Artistic Advisory Committee


Relevant professional experiences and community engagement

2020  Vice President Ceramic Arts Association Western Australia

2000-19  Head of Sculpture, Senior Lecturer, Edith Cowan University

2015-  Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe & Bondi, selection panels and judging

2012-21  Department of Mines and Petroleum, Western Australia, Field Assistant 

2011-12  Australian Art Collector Magazine correspondent, WA Wrap

2012  The Colour Society, Colours of the Earth, mineral colours workshop leader

2007-11  Art Monthly Australia monthly correspondent, Artnotes WA

2012-17  Geological Survey of Western Australia, photographic competition judge

2007-09  Art on the Move, metropolitan Board member (Deputy Chair, Chair 2009)

1997-99  Canberra School of Art, lecturer (sculpture), tutor (art theory) 

1997-98  National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Public Programs Assistant

1997  National Gallery of Australia, installation assistant "Islands"

1981-92  Geological Survey of Canada, Precambrian Division, Arctic expedition cook & camp manager


Residencies (selected)

2020  Fremantle Arts Centre, Ceramics Studio

1995  Glasgow School of Art, Post Graduate Program

1995  de vaalserberg, Rotterdam

1994  Australian National University, Canberra School of Art, Textiles Studio 


Publications: book chapters

Schwarz, N. 2016. “Floating”, in Peters, N. (ed), A touch of the Dutch: Dutch Maritime Military, Migration, and Mercantile Connections on the Western Third 1616 -2016. Carina Hoang Communications.

Schwarz, N. 2006. “Dutch Artists in Australia: Artiesten in Australie van Nederlandse oorsprong”, in Peters, N. (ed), The Dutch Down Under. University of Western Australia Press, p. 398-413


Public talks and conferences (selected)

2021  Holly O’Meehan, Defence/Defiance, Goolugatup Gallery 2021. Conversation with Nien Schwarz, Erin Coates, Melissa McGrath

2021  Holmes à Court, In Situ Artist Talk panel

2021  Indian Ocean Craft Triennial conference paper We Must Get Together Some Time

2016  Sculpture by the Sea Conference, Sydney

2016  Co-curator, field working slow making, Spectrum Project Space, ECU (H. Story, N. Searles, S. Egan, A. Nykiel, G. Karpathakis, N. Chinna, P. Phillips, N. Schwarz)

2011  The Colour Society, Colours from the Earth, The future of colour, UTAS 

2011  Geological Survey of Western Australia, Geology in art, Earth Science Week 

2009  Buckets and bores, Hydrobotanica Symposium, Int Centre for Landscape and Language, ECU


Published articles, catalogues and essays

2021  Nykiel, A., Schwarz, N. We Must Get Together Some Time: Our slow-making stories. Futuring Craft: International Conference Proceeding; IOTA21: Indian Ocean Craft Triennial 17-19 September 2021, Perth WA.

2021  Schwarz, N. The world in a tea towel: Weaving cartographic abstraction, Garland Magazine Sep issue

2021  Schwarz, N. We must get together (some time), Journal of Australian Ceramics, V60 no2, 28-31

2019  Schwarz, N. Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, catalogue forward

2017  Schwarz, N. -ing. In Know thy neighbour #1. edited by Katherine Wilkinson, 36-45, Perth: spaced.

2016  Schwarz, N. A dozen years at Cottesloe, Sculpture by the Sea: The first twenty years.

2016  Nykiel, A., & Schwarz, N. (2016). Field working slow making Mount Lawley: Edith Cowan University

2015  Schwarz, N. Trapped: Cecile Williams sculptural works exhibition review. Artlink.

2001-15  Schwarz, N. Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Survey catalogue essays

2013  Schwarz, N. Yonder, exhibition review, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), Art Monthly

2013  Schwarz, N. Sculpture@Bathers Artlink, v. 33(2)

2012  Schwarz, N. Spaced: Art out of place, IASKA's Socially Engaged Arts. Artlink, v. 32(2)

2011 Schwarz, N. Landed: knowing by being there, Perth: Gregory Pryor, City of Perth, pp 18-25

2011  Schwarz, N. Nalda Searles, Drifting in my own land in Art Monthly, issue 242, p. 36-38

2010  Schwarz, N. Fanciful and forceful: Denise Pepper in Craft Arts International, v. 80 p. 68-71

2010  Schwarz, N. Wallpaper. Artlink, 30(3), 100


Visual Arts Grants and Awards (selected)

2021  U-15K Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Western Australia.

2015  NAVA Australian Artists Grant.

2001  Australia Council, Visual Arts/Craft Board, New Work grant.

2000  Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, grant 

1995-98  Commonwealth Scholarship to Australia (all-inclusive postgraduate scholarship). 

1994  Victoria Medal for high academic achievement, University of Victoria, Canada.

Orbicular obsessions

good morning graphite, - 08:39, 14 4 2022, 30" 59' 10" south 118 55' 14" east

Nien Promised Land Palimpsest mod.jpeg

Palimpsest,  Promised Land, 2001


Position doubtful

Peters, Nonja. The Dutch Down

Under 1606-2006. UWA Press 2006

Going bush is coming home   

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