23/07/22 — 18/08/22
23/07/22 — 18/08/22
Can you talk about the Subtract Abstract title?
The thing that connects my work, through its myriad of subject matter and aesthetics, is an analytical approach to design. Each work starts from an abstract foundation. As the work develops bit by bit, I subtract the overt abstract visual reading. Figurative or biological forms, immersed in a pop culture dressing, develop and ambiguously declare themselves, though never quite discarding their abstract DNA.
On a scale of the curmudgeonly to ecstatic how would you describe the tone of these works?
Deceptive. While my colour and ‘subjects’ are at the far end of the bright lolly spectrum there is a detached precision to placement and manipulation of brush control that subverts the day glow ambience. So in terms of tone they operate at minus 25 and 100 Fahrenheit simultaneously. Chill/Shrill.
You have always been interested in the ‘fuddy duddy’?
Obviously fuddy duddy is old school for uncool. I have a loathing of fashion and am always on the outlook for the curious and so called ‘lame’ in contemporary culture. I call it the Nana Mouskouri effect. During the counter culture revolution of the 60s/70s, pop singer Nana was considered more geek than Greek — the personification of fuddy duddy. Yet, she attained a global audience for whom she is just as relevant as Pink Floyd. I never actually liked Mouskouri’s music but her glasses are now very very cool. The words Fuddy duddy have a rhythmic structure that almost gives them renewed currency.
Can you say a little more about the ‘off the charts’ colour relationships you are dealing with in these works?
I like to spend a lot of time painting colour swatches for no reason other than the simple pleasure of looking at colour. It’s an obsessive pleasure and not unusual for me to spend days and weeks in my investigations. When you mix a colour from pigment with clarity it feels as if you are making that colour for the very first time — a sensory fix you can almost taste. The paintings in Subtract Abstract are a result of transferring that experience and sensation of colour and colour relationships into kooky pictorial form.
Mark Braunias graduated with a BFA from Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha in 1988. He has completed artist residencies at Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2002), Southland Museum and Art Gallery (William Hodges Fellowship, 2005), Tylee Cottage, Whanganui (2007), Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2011) and the Dunedin School of Art (2019). Braunias’ work has regularly appeared in curated public gallery exhibitions including A very peculiar practice (City Gallery, Wellington Te Whare Toi, 1995), Gruesome (Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch, 1999), The Cartoon Show (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2002) and Ena Snuggles (Objectspace, Auckland, 2020). In 2021 he was winner of the Parkin Drawing Award.
Braunias’ work is held in public and private collections including: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Sarjeant Art Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, Ashburton Art Gallery, Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, Southland Museum and Art Gallery Niho o Te Taniwha, Fletcher Trust, Wallace Arts Trust and the State Library Of Queensland.