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I AM / WE ARE, an exhibition of works from renowned contemporary New Zealand artist Nigel Brown’s personal collection opens at MTG on Saturday 12 March.
The exhibition has a personal connection for our Art Curator Jessica Mio, as she curated it for Aigantighe Art Gallery in Timaru before she moved to Hawke’s Bay. She made the final selection after viewing the works in person at Nigel and his partner Susan McLaughlin’s idyllic rural retreat Cosy Nook, on the southern coast of the South Island. Cosy Nook’s location and proximity to the sea have had a strong influence on his artwork over the past 15 years.
Nigel’s work spans a wide range of themes – from culture and identity, to political and social systems, to the natural and the artificial. And no matter what age the artwork, Nigel’s unique use of totemic figures, bold text and a rich visual language of symbols are common threads which bind them together. The earliest paintings in the show were created while Nigel was living in Auckland.
Invercargill born, Tauranga raised Brown had established artist Fred Graham as his art teacher at Tauranga Boys’ College. Between 1968 and 1971 he attended Elam School of Art, gaining valuable wisdom and inspiration from teachers Robert Ellis, Pat Hanly, Colin McCahon, Garth Tapper and Greer Twiss.
He first began exhibiting in 1972 and in 1981 he was awarded a QEII Arts Council Grant for travel to the U.S., the U.K. and Western Europe. On his return, the impact of the 1981 Springbok tour protests, as well as a period living with fellow neo-expressionist artist Philip Clairmont that same year, had a lasting impression on him. He became a founding member of the pressure group VAANA (Visual Artists Against Nuclear Arms) in 1984.
Nigel has received a special invitation to the Sea Walls: Murals For Oceans powhiri for artists on Friday 11 March. The exhibition opens on Saturday 12 March and Nigel will deliver a floor talk for I AM / WE ARE at MTG at 11am on Sunday 13 March.
10 October 2016
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