Robert Brownhall

Robert Brownhall (b.1968, Brisbane) is a realist painter, inspired by his local environment of South-East Queensland. Over nearly thirty years of painting, Brownhall has developed a unique style characterised by a strong connection to place with his moody nocturnes, broad sweeping panoramas and gritty vignettes of urban life.

Brownhall’s realism is not slick. The humanity and visibility of his brushstroke is as important to him as that of his figures, and there is a filmic quality in the work induced by the light and moody glazes. His power in defining, recording and capturing buildings and scenes now lost, frames the way that the psyche of the places in which he has worked can be seen and experienced.

Brownhall cites Edward Hopper and Pieter Bruegel as influences, but equally important to him is process. Brownhall draws – as a way of thinking through images, to record the scenes he observes – often from his car or high-rise buildings, beaches and parks.

“Each show is a diary. A painting is my personal memory of a scene. I like to develop a good sense of proportion and composition in a painting, but also like a contemporary edge, visible brushstrokes. Colour mixing is important – as is tonality, and a sense of humour which strikes me as very Australian”.

Studying under William Robinson, Brownhall completed a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) at Queensland University of Technology from 1987-89. Brownhall has held regular solo exhibitions since 1991, and in 2011 had a survey of his work, Somewhere in the City: Urban Narrative by Robert Brownhall curated by Museum of Brisbane.

Brownhall is represented in a number of institutional collections including Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane; Home of the Arts, Gold Coast; and the Federal Court of Australia, Canberra.


Image: Robert Brownhall, A Queenslander (Windermere), 2015, oil on linen, 140 x 210 cm