Expectations are soaring for hugely talented artist Trevor J. Brown’s forthcoming solo exhibition that has been three and a half years in the making. Entitled ‘Aviary Exotica’, this, impressively, shall be Trevor’s twelfth solo show and again he has created a multi-layered exhibition which will excite, challenge and intrigue each and every art lover. Trevor has brought together over 70 new artworks which will be shown exclusively for one night only at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast on Friday 18 October 2013 with a cocktail reception from Bottle Green.
This new exhibition actively draws in and embraces the viewer with a collection of paintings which splits distinctly into five interlinked themes or vignettes called ‘A Social Celebrity’, ‘Bestiary’, ‘Aviary Exotica’, ‘Ceremony Ware’ and ‘They Dine By Night’.
‘A Social Celebrity’ is the bold curtain raiser that reflects Trevor’s fascination with the iconic silent movie actress Louise Brooks and the late couture designer Alexander McQueen. A burlesque show of sorts, the first painting ‘Diary Of A Lost Girl’ takes its inspiration from the G.W. Pabst 1929 film classic of the same name. This painting depicts a madam entering the dressing room; the mirror in her hand reflects the partial reflection of a nude. This chapter closes with the set of four ‘Champagne Venus’ works, literal busts framed with foliage representing the four seasons.
‘Bestiary’ holds animals – both expected and unexpected – with two laughing pigs taking centre stage whilst a collection of small expressionistic preparatory paintings of Adam and Eve culminate in the finished painting ‘Dust & Bone’.
‘Aviary Exotica’, the exhibition’s namesake, is the backbone of the show where sixteen creatures, half man, half bird, have been conceived to play on the idea of dining as they are best appreciated when viewed from below. Exuding a warm glow, they have been painted directly onto gold. The style featured in this theme is a meld between the farmscapes seen in his 2007 ‘Farm & Country’ exhibition and the classical techniques explored in 2010’s ‘au.ton.o.mous’ exhibitions. Being the title series of this exhibition, this section opens with the painting ‘Ortolan’, a six foot canvas representing the choices Alexander McQueen made in a life that burned brightly but only for a very short time. ‘Aviary Exotica’ closes this chapter resting within Trevor’s decorated frame of grotesque masks and stag beetles.
Next up, ‘Ceremony Ware’ introduces a collaboration with young ceramicist Victoria Bentham, its preparation and execution having taken a year and a half. These 20 handmade artisan ceramic pieces were created in a traditional way utilising cutting-edge techniques to create a look that is handcrafted yet modern.
The final vignette entitled ‘They Dine By Night’ opens with ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, another tribute to the short life of designer Alexander McQueen. This depiction reveals a lady entranced by a stag beetle resting on her bosom, her hair tangled in branches that form a cage for another ‘bird person’. The exhibition ends in epic form with ‘The Sea Of Sin’ where the beginning of a feast is witnessed. Nine individuals circle a table draped with the ocean as tablecloth with each sitter showcasing eye-popping detail that mixes symbolism and storytelling on a mammoth 6 foot canvas.
A prolific painter, Trevor’s work ethic stretches back to his upbringing on the family farm in County Tyrone. Over 25 years later and Trevor’s staple disciplines of oil painting and watercolour have been enhanced by the addition of furniture and ceramic pieces to create a singular vision of a multifaceted journey. For Trevor, his drive for creativity has been a curse as well as a blessing. In 2011 the artist underwent treatment for a debilitating back condition that was brought on by the long hours spent creating such detail and scale. Crippling pain, relieved by spinal injections and regular breaks have meant Trevor can only paint for short periods of time. The mere existence of ‘Aviary Exotica’ is a measure of Trevor’s passion for his art. Against all odds he has produced a collection of wealth, breadth and quality from such restrictive conditions. Trevor’s enthusiasm for art and astounding attention to detail is truly evident throughout this impressive body of work and it is sure to challenge its viewers in the same way that it has challenged Trevor in execution.
In speaking of his latest exhibition Trevor commented: “Each painting within ‘Aviary Exotica’ combines classical style with modern relevance, establishing reality within a surreal setting that incorporates twists that demand thought. I’m hoping that my passion will hold the imagination of the viewer for hours, ensuring ‘Aviary Exotica’ is remembered long after its one-night-only mayfly existence in The Merchant Hotel Belfast this autumn.”