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Nigel Brown, All the Jokes about Survival, 1983, oil on board

NIGEL BROWN: All the Jokes about Survival

25 February – 9 April 2017

All the Jokes about Survival is an exhibition of selected paintings from the personal collection of respected and celebrated New Zealand artist Nigel Brown. Over a period of several years these works have been gifted by the artist and his partner Sue McLaughlin to the Eastern Southland Gallery’s permanent collection.


Brown describes himself as an ‘expressive realist’ or ‘symbolic expressionist’, drawing upon the local landscape, family, life in New Zealand and forces of influence from overseas, to address some of the large questions in life such as the state of the human condition.  His style is instantly recognisable for its use of a heavy dark outline around objects gives his paintings the appearance of woodcuts.  Figurative in style, the work is painterly and chunky.  Colour plays an important part in the overall composition and reflects the bare tones of the New Zealand landscape.  Brown works with an ever-evolving series of icons, symbols, motifs and text.  His interest in combining text with visual images has been prompted by the fact that his father was a poet and his admiration for the poetry of James K. Baxter. 


In the year 2000 Nigel and Sue moved to Cosy Nook on the rugged Southland coast, where they resided and worked for over 15 years, and on occasion gifted works to the Eastern Southland Gallery. A recent shift north to Dunedin facilitated the gifting of a further 8 paintings – several of which reference the artist’s time in the far south. 


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