Rare paintings at Expressions
A striking collection of paintings, some never before seen, by New Zealand painter Nigel Brown are on display at Expressions.
The Nigel Brown; I AM/WE ARE exhibition has been touring the country and features work spanning more than 30 years of Brown’s career.
Expressions Whirinaki director Leanne Wickham said it was exciting to have such a large collection of paintings from one of New Zealand’s most important figurative painters on display in Upper Hutt.
Among the works are 25 large paintings that have never before been displayed in galleries and Pacific-inspired woodblock prints, along with the original woodblocks.
‘‘It’s a big collection. A lot of it is drawn from his personal collection, so many of the works have never been seen before.’’
Brown, who now lives in Southland, grew up in a packing shed in Tauranga which gave him a unique insight into that aspect of New Zealand life.
Common features in his work are the combination of bold text and imagery, often of archetypal New Zealand icons and scenes such as the man wearing a black, woollen shearing singlet and the Edmonds baking powder tin.
He draws on a broad range of subject matter; from Captain Cook and colonisation, to urban or city scenes and capitalism.
Wickham said Brown explored what it meant to be a New Zealander and it was this examination of culture and history that made him a painter of national importance.
‘‘He’s been described as the most New Zealand of New Zealand painters. The ideas and images are linked with the history of Aotearoa. [He explores] social and political issues; the Springbok tour, feminism, capitalism, nature and the environ- ment.’’
Brown has received acclaim throughout his career and was picked to undertake an artist residency in Russia in 2007. He was also the first Art Fellow in the Artist to Antarctica programme.
He was awarded the Order of NZ Merit for Services to painting and printmaking in 2004.
Nigel Brown; I AM/WE ARE
is on display at Expressions Whirinaki until November 5.