Waipu local Brett a’Court is exhibiting his first solo show in Tai Tokerau at Hangar Gallery, Whangarei. a’Court began painting in the early 90’s and has become a disciplined practitioner. Brett is a regular exhibitor in Auckland. He last exhibited at TSB Pah Homestead, the Wallace Arts Trust.
a’Court has a holistic philosophy that culminates in powerful, evocative paintings. His sincerity as an artist, in turn means those who come in contact with his work can’t help but feel the struggle, the chaos, and the final acceptance within each piece.
a’Courts personal convictions are expressed in his work, and communicate a complex blend of Christian iconography with his lifestyle as a contemporary rural New Zealander.
As with McCahon, a’Court crosses over cultures and works with a European ‘hang over’ and by definition places him in the middle of our post-colonial issues. He is shrugging off white wash, pop culture, cynicism, but hints at irony.
In a series of four landscapes his strong spiritual reference crosses the path of the whenua, with emblematic images conjuring up Aotearoa’s history of colonialisation.
Brett a’Court is constantly evolving as a painter; his powerful vision is complemented by confident painterly surfaces exploding with colour, text, collage, flags, icons, and above all persistence. His move from oil paint to acrylic has altered the surface texture with a ‘stilling’ effect noticeable on the smaller animalistic works and a definite lightening of the palette, a signal of adaptations and experimentation with the medium.
The artists’ great maelstrom of gestural strokes and strong black lines are interlaced with layers that acknowledge chaos, but there is stillness in the eye of the storm, a hard won harmony.
There are multiple themes including ‘Lamb of God’, ‘Vanitas,’ and Christianity. Skillfully drafted animal skulls reflect their mortality and also the human condition. There are symbols like modern Hieroglyphics, face book icons, Biblical quotes, and human organs woven with wild yet articulate brush strokes heavily cast layer upon layer on the canvas. There is soul searching to refresh and contemporize faith, to find a bridge on a path to individual enlightenment.
a’Court invests in a visual language that is both complex and passionate; he has established a personal pilgrimage to search for an Aotearoa/New Zealand identity in his practice
In the words of the artist, “This body of work connects mythology and biblical symbols of certain introduced animals of Aotearoa to my Pakeha Christian identity. Within this is my intention to pierce the veil of this world to the next. In the tradition of Vanitas, the paintings aim to show the transience of life, narratives of the afterlife, superstitions and even salvation.”
Brett a’Court will give an artist talk on Friday 28th at Hangar Gallery 14 Cross St, Regent from 5-6pm entry is free. This talk is sponsored by Creative Northland.