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Congo 

Mark Braunias
September, 2005
 
 Do ya think
Braunias carries on from other recent large 'wall works' by painting directly onto the gallery wall, allowing figures and shapes to twirl in a miasmic dance across a great divide. The making of 'Homage to Rolf 'was documented by video as was the final 'painting over'. We see a 'main man 'bustle in from the right towards the central action. Wearing brown walk shorts and knee-high socks he sports a black moustache. beard and carries a bag of tricks. To anyone who suffered 70's Television, the resemblance is unmistakable. Rolf Harris TV extraordinaire, who with a whistle and a chortle oversees the state of play; the artist has arrived. Facing the main wall a video shows Braunias in his studio unearthing the usual suspects from patina marks left on his studio wall. Here a line of black slowly morphs into a goofy looking animal, a red shape transforms into a dripping colon; all etched with a dash of white. The video is titled 'Congo' and pays homage to the monkey "Congo', a one time big star of 1960's BBC television, who under the tutelage of animal behaviorist Desmond Morris made 500 'works of art 'on paper, selling some at Sotheby's Auction house. Is Braunias aligning himself with "Congo' as simply another animal who derives aesthetic form from a world of line and colour or does Braunias suggest that the 'culture' of humans demands closer scrutiny; we may be not as significant as we believe?

A facing work on canvas 'War Grunt' says it all. From again a pristine white background Braunias unearths a 70's Jerry Garcia type with handlebar moustache and round sunglasses. His war-hating peace -making stare seems confident of approval. With the hindsight of history, one cannot be so sure.

There is a recently researched neurobiological process called 'searing'. It is the process by which the human brain recollects and stores all information and memory, not only of facts and dates, but the smells, feelings and nuances of detail, which accompany any past human occurrence and emotion. Similarly, Braunias works the searings that surround us as we waddle through human history. No space frontiers here, no philosophical blathering, just the desperate and often senseless details that make up ‘our place; monkeys after all.
Elizabeth Smyth

Selected works

1.
cutouts.jpg
2.
doyathink.jpg
3.
fuzz.jpg
4.
hasbeen.jpg
5.
swingerswanted.jpg
6.
ya_ya.jpg
1. Untitled
2. Do ya think
3. Fuzz Puss
4. Has Been
5. Swingers Wanted
6. Ya Ya

 

All works oil on stretched board