‘THE PINEAP­PLE’ ARTIST GOES SOLO

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

MANY will be fa­mil­iar with Ge­of­frey Drake-Brock­man’s work with­out nec­es­sar­ily know­ing his name.

Totem, or what has af­fec­tion­ately be­come known as ‘the pineap­ple’ to those vis­it­ing Perth Arena, is one of sev­eral pub­lic art com­mis­sions by the Perth artist.

Af­ter spend­ing his youth in Can­berra, an 18-year-old Drake-Brock­man em­barked on an eight-month hitch­hik­ing tour of Aus­tralia that fin­ished when vis­it­ing fam­ily in WA and he de­cided to stay.

“I started study­ing at UWA, ini­tially physics but that turned into a com­puter science de­gree,” he said.

“For a long time I made the de­lib­er­ate de­ci­sion not to use tech­nol­ogy in my art; I re­sisted us­ing it un­til years later when I went to art school at Curtin Uni­ver­sity and did a Masters in visual arts, where I stud­ied art the­ory.

“It led me to think about how the con­cept of tech­nol­ogy could be in­ter­est­ing in visual art and hav­ing en­gaged with the con­cept, the log­i­cal next step was to use it.”

Drake-Brock­man, who has an in­dus­trial ware­house stu­dio in Ned­lands, said he then found him­self in a catch-22 with his am­bi­tion to se­cure large pub­lic art com­mis­sions us­ing ro­botic and op­ti­cal tech­nolo­gies.

“You can’t get a pub­lic art com­mis­sion un­til you’ve al­ready done a pub­lic art com­mis­sion, so that seemed like an im­pen­e­tra­ble closed shop at first” he said.

“I was work­ing with an­other artist called Richie Kuhaupt and we came up with a pro­posal for a com­mis­sion ini­tially where I grew up in Can­berra.

“That was my first pub­lic art com­mis­sion and once you have one, it’s eas­ier to get an­other.”

Drake-Brock­man has since cre­ated Totem, the as­cend­ing Spi­ral at WA Po­lice Head­quar­ters and in­ter­ac­tive light sculp­ture Lu­mi­nous at Chi­na­town in North­bridge, plus works for Sculp­ture by the Sea, in­clud­ing So­lar Jayne, in­spired by WA Bal­let prin­ci­pal dancer Jayne Smeul­ders.

His lat­est foray finds DrakeBrock­man step­ping back into a com­mer­cial gallery with ex­hi­bi­tion Look­ing Glass, some­thing he has not done in 19 years.

“Pub­lic art com­mis­sions have kept me busy and sup­ple­ment­ing that was in­sti­tu­tional exhibitions at PICA or the Na­tional Gallery of Aus­tralia,” he said.

“I just thought it would be nice to go back to an old idea I hadn’t tried for a long time. There are about 30 works with static sculp­tures, in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion and 12 new paint­ings that I’ve just com­pleted in the last few weeks; it’s the first time I’ve made paint­ings in about 20 years.”

The paint­ings have a strong geo­met­ric theme in­cor­po­rat­ing mir­rors, flat sur­faces and colour, and have been de­scribed by Drake-Brock­man’s part­ner and Brazil­ian singer-song­writer Ju­liana Areias as “mul­ti­di­men­sional paint­ings”.

Areias sang her orig­i­nal song Be­las Artes, mean­ing ‘Fine Arts’ in Por­tuguese and com­posed about Drake-Brock­man, dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion’s open­ing last week at Lin­ton and Kay Gal­leries Perth, Level 1/137 St Ge­orges Ter­race. Look­ing Glass ex­hi­bi­tion is show­ing un­til May 22.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d453584

Ge­of­frey Drake-Brock­man with his ex­hi­bi­tion Look­ing Glass at Lin­ton & Kay Gal­leries Perth.

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