Julie Brooke

Research Fellow

School of Art, Australian National University

Canberra, ACT, Australia


Julie Brooke is an Australian painter and former biomedical scientist who investigates parallels between research in science and in the visual arts. Drawing on the traditions of optical and concrete art, she explores the potential of geometric systems and the hand-made mark to visualise memory and thought, with a particular focus on the visualisation of abstract scientific and mathematical concepts. Brooke is a Research Fellow at the Australian National University School of Art and completed a practice-led visual arts PhD in 2013 for which she was awarded the J. G. Crawford Award.


Image for entry 'Entangled Labyrinth'

Entangled Labyrinth

30 x 30 cm

Gouache, pencil and acrylic on board


During a 2014 residency in the Australia National University Applied Mathematics Department I worked with topologists to investigate how they visualise and communicate abstract concepts, focusing on the ‘entangled labyrinth.’ This complex form can be imagined as an organised tangle of labyrinthine tunnels that pass through each other without interconnecting. It is not only an abstract concept but exists in nature, providing a template for the formation of butterfly wing scales during metamorphosis. In this painting I’ve explored the metaphorical as well as the mathematical implications of this form by flattening the labyrinthine lattice into a two-dimensional grid and using complementary colours to evoke the shimmer of the butterfly's wing.