Nigel Brown: Waterfalls

5 March - 12 April 2014

Born in Invercargill in 1949, Nigel Brown grew up in Tauranga and was fortunate to have the established artist Fred Graham as an 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.

"What makes Nigel Brown’s art practice so appealing is his direct and personal articulation of the realities of the human condition. He is profoundly aware of the relationship between human beings and their environment. In his hands symbolism is a powerful and evocative instrument." LYDIA BAXENDELL, 2012


This exhibition of works on paper springs from a waterfall visited during a Dusky sound trip in 2009 on the Pembroke with a number of artists; we were primarily there because William Hodges, Captain Cook’s artist, had been there before us. I have been dealing with Cook since the early nineteen nineties. Since that Dusky visit I have painted this waterfall in ways connected with Hodges. What I am showing here in these waterfalls is a combination and a contradiction. I am showing a specific waterfall and the cliffs surrounding it. I’ve added a ponga and there is often a man and a woman, a dog maybe and vernacular undertones. Then this is overlaid with outside material and content I’ve introduced in the same way as Hodges altered what he saw. Each work is a topic and a stream of consciousness for the viewer to react with so the local is corrupted by, and added to by, the international which might come from my head or from my reading or the internet.

For me paintings at best can be organic and an intimate sharing. Thoughts and words are important to me in work both as triggers and as actual included elements. The integration of words is a challenge but properly used can add to the visual. Memory and stream of consciousness have become increasingly present in much of my work and equate with both the archetypal and highly complex situation of the present as well as conveying multiple levels of awareness in full.