Nigel Brown was born (1949) in Invercargill, later moving to the Bay of Plenty. Following the encouragement of Fred Graham, his art teacher at Tauranga Boys’ College, Brown attended Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland (1968-71), completing a BFA, and where his lecturers included Colin McCahon and Garth Tapper. He had his first solo exhibition in 1972 at Moller’s Gallery, Auckland, and his early series of paintings included ‘Driveways’ (1974), ‘Bedroom paintings’ (1976) and ‘Lemon tree’ (1977). Other series, such as ‘Man and the Land’ (1977) and ‘From Suburbia’ (1978), reflected the artist’s growing concern for social and environmental issues, while the introduction of texts into his compositions reinforced the message.
In 1985 Brown began a series of portraits of other artists and writers of influence to him, which included Colin McCahon, Janet Frame and Paul Gauguin. Brown is based at Cosy Nook, Southland, and his perspective on the world has been coloured by frequent overseas travel, including residences in Antarctica (1998) and Russia (2005). In January 2015 Brown completed his third Artists trip to Dusky Sound, the Caselberg Trust’s initiative to send nine artists and a film-maker on a six day creative wilderness residency to Fiordland in 2007. This portrait of one of his travel companions, composer Dame Gillian Whitehead was a result of this trip.
© 2016 The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Trust