Media/Texts > Essays

Linda Yang - Catalogue essay for 'Sonder' at Orexart, Auckland 7-25 November 2017
Linda Yang - Catalogue essay for 'Sonder' at Orexart, Auckland 7-25 November 2017

Matthew Browne is fascinated by the subjectivity of perception and the fallibility of memory. Can a shared experience truly exist, if what we perceive and what we remember varies from person to person?

Sonder welcomes this ambiguity of reality and probes how each work can provoke an entirely different reaction in every individual. Browne describes these paintings as open-ended platforms for our engagement and contemplation, activated by our speculation. The abstract forms intentionally defy definition, and teasingly hint at some long-forgotten memory or sensation. One imagines that if the forms shifted just slightly one way or the other, one could pin down the sense of recognition just tantalisingly out of reach.

Browne’s paintings are thoughtful deliberations on colour, form, and the spaces between. Each form appears to float out of the ether, and gently lands on the canvas with uncanny precision. In some works they hover over each other, creating rich tonal depths, and in others, they gently nudge and vibrate against one another. The internal arrangement of each canvas creates conversations between every contour and colour.

Browne describes making his Sonder paintings as ‘unearthing’ each composition from his unconsciousness, discovering the balanced forms as they emerge. Creating the perfectly crisp contours and confident colours is a meditative and instinctive process.

These are deeply personal compositions, each enjoying a unique connection with the artist, but also released from any intended meaning or reading. Ultimately, it is this elusiveness that holds our attention. There is an effortless grace to the paintings, and it ceases to matter what the works may represent, but instead that they reflect the plurality of our perceptions and selves back to us.

Linda Yang - September 2017