This selection of works is grounded in New Zealand, although in a general way beyond content or specifics, the dot technique in some works owes something to Aboriginal art across the Tasman. In some works, or parts of works, I am developing loose dots in a layered, open build up of tone and intricacy. The spatial layout remains in the Western tradition of foreground and horizon. The underlying linear structure gets honed back.
The title of the show suggests a chant of sorts, and these works could be seen as distilled concentrations with a certain repetitive iconic format. There are no rigid tribal or religious agendas but there are tensions between the vernacular, historical figures, contemporary events and the varying painterly approaches.
My spiritual agendas tend to be a crying out for the land and birds, and envisage nurturing in a heightened manner. Recent influences such as Richard Nunns and Glenn Colquhoun, as well as the English Romantic poets have focused me on the painting as song, poem or chant. For some years now my son-in-law Dudley Benson and his work with albums such as ‘Forest’, has been a pointer to nature, and birds in particular. I think his lament ’ Kiwi’ really explores a new nature relationship in an intense way, building on Hirini Melbourne.
In contemporary living, much expression has been stripped away by Functionalism and Modernism. So I’m retrieving and reviving. The black singlet man and woman become the essential human element to complete the belonging story. I don’t want to see birds as separate from us so I exaggerate the intimacy.
I want the now to link to the past and organic nature. I want ancestors to come alive with contemporary relevance. I want the belonging to be a pulsation and a continuum.
16th April 2015
31st March 2015
Leaving Cosy Nook
The day has come to sell up at Cosy Nook. This will happen over the coming months. Ownership is the wrong word for a piece of wild coastline like this being in your life. We have joked about our own private beach but it has felt that way!
It’s more of a deep privilege to be daily part of the rocks and sea and trees. It really unquestionably belongs to the birds. More off shore islands provide homes for seabirds – mainly karoro, terns and two species of shags. There are spectacular swarming of titi (mutton birds) diving before you. Spotted shags gathering seaweed at nesting time. It gets under your skin. You feel alive.
I’d like to acknowledge our highland cattle for their quiet munching lives and the soft eyes of our Orpington chooks. For us Cosy Nook has been a nature sanctuary.
We will leave here full of memories of campfires on the beach, excited visitors and family gatherings but of course someone else will now have an opportunity to take up the challenge this southern life style represents.It’s hard to imagine a more exciting place for people, for poets, for musicians, for children into rocks and islands, for anyone open to nature. It’s been so inspirational to me as an artist and a defining experience. A dramatic situation of seascapes and big skies, A sheltered and intimate pastoral sanctuary next to bush capped Pahia hill.
Nigel & Sue
24th February 2015
Nature of Freedom (2014), Acrylic on canvas, 2940mm x 1950mm
Nature of Freedom
This large loose canvas was finished in 2014 and taken down to be rolled and sent recently for showing at the National Portrait Gallery in Wellington. Tranquillity Disturb’d is a three person show with Lisa Reihana and Gavin Hurley.
I’m pleased to honour a few poets and the concept of freedom for writers and poets. I also assert the freedom for artists to push boundaries, surprise, alarm and stimulate. Whatever the shabby politics of the day, the threats to nature, the crass cynicism, there are creative beings with plenty to offer. In the now and in the past they inspire.
This canvas is also a lead into my one-man show Albatross Neck coming up at Artis in Auckland.
8th December 2014
Released this month via Cosy Nook Press Ltd is Nigel Brown’s first self-published book in many years – Intuitive Mind. A limited edition collection of drawings with an introduction by Nigel Brown, Intuitive Mind explores instinct, the heart, and spontaneity through a series of bold pen-on-paper drawings. Intuitive Mind was printed and bound in an edition of 150 in Dunedin. To request a copy for $25 (including postage), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
27th November 2014
I’m looking out my studio window in the wettest November. The objects on the sill are what I do to amuse myself when not painting. Somewhere we have our Sebastopol goose in hiding trying again with eggs. In the chook house on the earth floor part we have an Orpington hen sitting on eggs also. Grass is growing relentlessly. From the south the wind whips the sea.
17th September 2014
5th September 2014
For Away and Towards, his May 2014 exhibition of selected works at Milford Galleries Dunedin, Nigel gave a floor talk on specific paintings within the show. This was filmed, and we’re happy to share it below.