Though predominantly a painter, Andrew Browne is also known for his works of photography, charcoal drawings, photogravure, intaglio, lithography and sculpture. Claiming diverse influences, including Jamie Hewlett (best known for creating the virtual band Gorillaz) and Akira Kurosawa (the influential filmmaker), Browne scrutinises the natural world and manmade interventions upon it, often fixating on minute details.
Much of Browne's work centres around an approach that he describes as an 'accumulation of glimpses'. The sense of amassed moments manifests in multiple ways, most clearly in his repetition of certain imageries through different media. For example, the abandoned balloon with a smiley-face in a forest that appears in the photographs From the Periphery #2 (2010), Smiley-Lost (2012), or #9 (2016), also features in the oil painting Deflated (2011). Utilising another medium to recreate similar compositions, Brown seeks to reach a greater understanding of the moment he has captured.
Gnarled tree branches are a common theme in Browne's drawings, paintings, and photographs. In the charcoal drawing #30 (2014), a branch is so highly stylised as to appear almost alien; its disorientation and uncanniness are emphasised by the tightly cropped framing—a common compositional strategy in Browne's work. In his oil painting A visitation (blue) (2015), Browne depicts a similar branch but with colour, including a blue sky that gradates into black in the bottom. Compared to the stark contrast of black and white in #30, the variations in focus and blur in the painting makes it possible to detect a sense of motion in the branch.
While Browne's tree branches convey a somewhat malevolent presence—a sentiment echoed in his charcoal works depicting water and waterfalls—other works cultivate a more hopeful and playful quality. In his 'Pavement' series (2016), the artist records small, odd, and banal moments that would otherwise be lost, pineapple ring discarded on a footpath in #11 (2016), slumped on top of its damp trace, or the small piece of rectangular wood somehow resting on a wire netting in #8 (2016). In the same series, however, works such as #9 with the smiley-face and #4 (2016), depicting a graffitied mask that peeks through a hole on a wooden fence, also point to a potentially destructive and unnecessary manmade intervention on nature.
Browne lives and works in Melbourne.
To call Andrew Browne's practice 'disquieting' would, of course, be to say nothing new. In fact, a scan of the literature on his work shows that this, in some register or another, is about the only consistent thing said about his gothic greyscale drawing, painting and photography: it is disquieting, filled with suspense, dream-like, humming with...
In a ceremony at Geelong Art Gallery on Friday 8 June, Andrew Browne was named the winner of the 2018 Geelong contemporary art prize for his work, The awakening. A biennial acquisitive award for contemporary painting with a cash prize of $30,000, the judging panel comprised Justin Paton (Head Curator of International Art, Art Gallery of New South...