If Paul Gauguin hadn’t died four years before Frida Kahlo was born, one might suspect that Gavin Brown is their lovechild. Certainly his art carries the organic lushness and slight madness of Kahlo’s many self-portraits and Gauguin’s Polynesian-period art.
You cannot blame the Melbourne-born, 47-year-old Brown for subtlety or minimalism. His world is populated by richly colored graffiti-like images of people and situations where fleshy faces and tattooed skin compete for attention with birds, fruit and flowers. The vivid richness and underlying drama contradict each other.
The color palette is happy and lovely, but these people are not happy. There is something sinister, tormented, going on. Which of course brings us back to impressionists and the most tormented of them all, Vincent van Gogh, whose self-portraits, if combined with his sunflowers would look completely comfortable with Brown’s gallery of people.
Brown has had an illustrious and multi-faceted career in fashion, film and many other forms of art and design, but his focus is on painting.
He has participated in more than 25 solo and group exhibitions. Several of his large commissions adorn the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Singapore hotel and casino. – Tuija Seipell