Jan Murphy Gallery is pleased to present Zographos – Life Writer , Leonard Brown’s fiftieth solo exhibition and first with the gallery. “Zographos (Greek Ζωγράφος, painter) philosophically a far more accurate term to describe one’s activity as a painter, that is ‘life writing’, holding the ‘life’ in a cosmic sense as well as ‘life’ in a personal sense. Inextricably interwoven for me as a painter, the marriage of art and life.” Leonard Brown, 2022
This milestone exhibition draws together paintings and drawings from early in Brown’s career through to his most recent and ambitious works created in his fifty fourth year as an artist. Known for his contemporary abstract works as well as his parallel practice within the convention of Byzantine icon painting, Zographos – Life Writer brings together a collection of works from a considered and illustrious artistic practice spanning five decades. Traversing the realms of both trained icon painter, employing traditional materials and techniques, and modern abstract painter, Brown’s dual practices have only in recent times been exhibited together. These areas of artistic interest were described by Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM FAHA as “two sides of the same artistic quest”.
Utilising a reduced colour palette with subtle variations, Brown’s contemporary works dissolve the boundaries between the material and spiritual worlds. Often poetically titled, these works exist alongside his icons and whilst initially appearing to be disconnected, both sides of Brown’s practice invite viewers on a spiritual or meditative experience.
Born in Brisbane in 1949, Brown has had a long and illustrious art practice since his first solo exhibition in 1968, Brown has been the recipient of many notable accolades including winning the Blake Prize for Religious Art (2010) and the Inaugural Lord Mayor’s Portrait Prize, Brisbane (2019). He is also a two-time finalist in the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2004, 2009). In 2011, Brown was honoured with a major survey exhibition at QUT Art Museum, Brisbane. Works by Brown are held in numerous public collections including National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of Western Australia, QAGOMA, Artbank, Parliament House and the Museum of Brisbane.
Image credit: Leonard Brown, ‘Parousia – as you see Him go, so will he come again’, 2021, oil on Belgian linen, 122.0 x 122.0 cm