Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards

Brian Robinson: Recipient of the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award 2013

Born 1973 Waiben (Thursday Island), Torres Strait, Queensland

Lives and works Cairns, Queensland

Language: Kala Lagaw Ya

Brian Robinson is the recipient of the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award of $50,000, the nation’s richest Indigenous arts prize for exceptional achievements by an Australian Indigenous artist. Robinson was selected from 137 nominations received from across Australia.

Robinson is a multi-skilled contemporary artist whose practice includes printmaking, painting, sculpture, installation and design. His work embodies the customs and traditions of the Torres Strait Islander people whilst also referencing other epic mythological narratives from cultures globally. His commitment to experimentation crosses the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

The judges’ commented, “Brian’s work reveals images portrayed in the great tradition of the Renaissance frescoes that have been recast with traditional characters from the Torres Strait Islands. In up in the heavens the gods contemplate their next move [secret charms are given to man] 2012, aspects of the stories of Ulysses are brought to life in a frenzied ocean, which features a boat caught in an octopus’s tentacles. In addition, da Vinci’s flying machines are embodied in the paper planes that attempt to escape from their two-dimensional counterparts on the surface. His mighty ancestral beings bear masks through which lighting comes as the conduit between men and gods, and there are multiple symbols of good and evil.”

Brian Robinson

Up in the heavens the gods contemplate their next move [secret charms are given to man] 2012

wood, plastic, steel, synthetic polymer paint, feathers, plant fibre and shell

350.0 x 400.0 x 50.0 cm

Artwork courtesy of the artist and Mossenson Galleries

© the artist, courtesy of Mossenson Galleries

Robinson extends his references to multiple planes and dimensions in … and meanwhile back on earth the blooms continue to flourish 2013. In this work, objects, faces and symbols appear and disappear depending on the viewer’s position. What is clearly apparent, though, is a mighty ancestral being – upon his face the mask through which lighting comes as the conduit between men and gods – who creates Triffid-like blooms that spread over the earth. As colourful and celebratory as Robinson’s work might first appear, then, there is an element of menace at the heart of this work. Adding to this feeling is a clockwork, mechanical quality to the flowers, which gives the work a strange hyper-real aspect. Indeed, the fecundity of the blooms is almost overwhelming; it’s as though it might not be possible to stop them from dividing and repeating. The eye is pulled into the centre of many of these blooms by small details such as a minuscule Spiderman. Such elements (along with his highly polished spray technique) underpin the technical virtuosity of this artist.

Brian Robinson

…and meanwhile back on earth the blooms continue to flourish 2013

wood, plastic, steel, synthetic polymer paint, feathers, plant fibre and shell

200.0 x 350.0 x 50.0cm

Artwork courtesy of the artist and Mossenson Galleries

© the artist, courtesy of Mossenson Galleries

Detail


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