Irene MacFarlane


At age fifteen Irene was awarded a bursary to attend the National Art School in Sydney, after which she taught art in primary, secondary schools and adult education.

A teaching career and the demands of family life meant minor works were only occasional completed, specialising in portraiture and silk painting.

A career change into psychology meant leaving art behind until an engagement with Taoist spiritual philosophy inspired a series of major works, with ten compositions exhibited as “Innerscapes” at the Percolator Gallery, Brisbane in 2009.

These were executed in oil-pastel, a medium in which Irene became fluent using art-as-therapy, with a flexibility responsive to a spontaneous intuitive style, her preferred approach to work at that time.

This series was of abstracted symbolic compositions, built directly onto the canvas, each emerging to completion in a developmental, experimental process.

Since that time, Irene has worked to discover ways of working with different media to develop a style and approach to her art that fulfils a meaningful mode of personal expression and communication.


She is largely attracted to non-representational, abstract expressionism that gives voice to unconscious symbolic processes

I dreamed a regenisis
We Two Tethered

Her strength of imagery portrayal is underpinned by an understanding of formal qualities of composition and design, to which she attributes the art training of her youth.

Irene may be contacted at: