Nigel Brown is undoubtedly New Zealand’s most significant narrative artist. Each painting tells a story in a characteristic style which unites the past and present, the social and political, human spirit and endeavour.
This exhibition traverses two major series – Brown’s revisiting of Otago’s gold mining identity and history, and the very important Captain Cook paintings where we see Cook and the colonial and European legacy he represents, being examined and questioned by contemporary perception and sensibility.
Evident across both bodies of work is a well-developed stylistic coherence. The two series are further united by the critically important and fundamental role the southern South Island landscape performs in all of them. As well as being a core subject itself, this landscape acts as a stage for Brown’s humanistic concerns and multiple dialogues.
Nigel Brown’s ability to establish individual character, to portray event with insider insight and understanding has long been a hallmark of his work. Equally significant is how he uses signs and symbols to imbue the paintings with deep resonances and to broaden cultural and social context.
Ultimately, Brown is tilling our history and telling who we are (becoming) through our deeds. He reminds us again and again that everything is interconnected – the environment, the dreams of aspiration, the passage of time etc. He uses words as narrative devices, as architectural monuments and (ultimately) emblematically.
TO VIEW ALL 18 WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION, PLEASE SEE THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE