New paintings by leading narrative painter Nigel Brown
November 14th - December 15th, 2018
Lumbering kererū are in abundance right now – but that may not always be so. The seductive nature of these lumbering, beautiful birds, embedded in the New Zealand sense of identity, draws us into Nigel Brown's often ironic commentary on our relationship with nature, water, climate change, culture, each other. Increasingly textural paintings - employing beads and gold paint to catch the light and a sense of iconic status - draw the viewer into detail that challenges our preferred view of ourselves.
The heavy whoosh of kererū overhead prompts leading narrative artist Nigel Brown to think about human ideals versus the reality of the way we actually live in the world; the bird becomes his metaphor for an intuitive relationship with the earth, and in expression he turns to ancient forms of connecting with birdlife.
‘I have wanted to get closer to kererū, not in the sense of zoom lenses and fine details, but in a more ancient, psychic and emblematic sense.’
He confronts familiar issues that cannot be ignored – restoring our relationship with nature; issues of pure water versus commercial imperatives, social and cultural questions: this is indeed a ‘climate of change’. Increasingly textured paintings – employing acrylic, with shimmering gold over beads – capture multiple stories within his distinctive motifs and all his trademark ironic fierceness.
The suite of powerful works on canvas further develops the themes of his highly successful exhibition last year, Organic Thinking I. However, the artist is also keen to escape the constraints of art’s formal ‘rectangle’ format: on a visit to his studio recently, we managed to secure two kererū who ‘escaped’ the rectangle into works on ply, sculptural and carved, countering ‘the cool smooth slickness of our techno society with a rough homemade authenticity’.