presents an exhibition of new work from Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4s New Sensations nominee Ross Brown. Browns oil paintings explore the experience of built environments and focus on architectural landscapes in which abandoned structures take on a filmic appearance and a frail dystopian beauty.
Browns work investigates changes in usage that occur throughout the lifespan of built spaces. His new work is based on the history of the former USA Listening Station at Teufelsberg in Berlin. Originally built by the US National Security Agency during the Cold War to intercept radio transmissions, the site fell vacant after the fall of the Berlin wall and has become an impromptu venue nurturing the growth of certain subcultures. Like many locations in Berlin, the space at Teufelsberg is saturated by fragments of past ideologies which reside uncomfortably beneath the shifting landscape of the present.
Wasteland is a recurring motif in Browns work and reflects the tension between the state of flux within a landscape and a more constant sense of place. The passage of time is evident through cracked concrete and subsiding structures, and this instability is further reflected through distortions as buildings are adopted for uses often contradictory to their initial intention.
Each painting starts from a rigidly constructed one point perspective, then the image is built through the layering of techniques which rely on chance such as pouring, smearing and dripping. These chaotic processes are layered with more considered painterly responses mirroring the fragile equilibrium of architecture and nature within each site. Techniques more commonly associated with abstraction, such as Gerhard Richter's squeegee smear and Callum Innes' process of addition and removal are used to undermine the rigidity of the photographic source image, allowing areas of representational painting to revert back to its material basis.
Browns subject matter and compositional decisions are often influenced by films such as Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker and novels including Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and JG Ballard's Concrete Island, which all present landscape and architectural space as environments where interior and exterior realities overlap and the division between the mental and the physical landscape is never distinct. Brown also draws on references including Caspar David Friedrichs focus of ruin and the sublime as well as the use of chance based processes within the work of the abstract expressionists.
Ross Brown (b. 1986) graduated from Dundees Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (2010.) He was shortlisted for Saatchi / Channel 4 New Sensations 2010 and received the N.S Macfarlane Charitable Trust Award at RSA Annual Exhibition 2010; Pittenweem Arts Festival Bursary Award 2010; RSA New Contemporaries Award for Degree Show; Rendezvous Gallery/Linda Clark Nolan Landscape award at the RSA Student Exhibition 2008 and a residency on the Isle of Lewis in Summer 2008. He has exhibited internationally at shows such as Brave New World? Bridge View Gallery, (Aberdeen, 2010); A Moskvitch in Havana, Tallinn Art Academy (Tallinn, 2008); and Trans-Local Motion, Shanghai Biennial Students Exhibition (Shanghai, 2008). His work is featured in the Catlin Guide 2011 and is part of the University of Dundee collection. Forthcoming shows include Utopia in Retrospect (Livingston, 2012.) The production of Browns work is supported by the Arts Trust for Scotland and the Dundee Visual Arts Award.