Words written by Alexander Brennan
Although I paint a variety of subjects in a variety of mediums from watercolour flowers to oil landscapes, I specialise in portraits using oil and a palette knife. I prefer using a palette knife as it is quite a versatile tool and helps create a clean dynamism to my work. Although I have painted my whole life, painting really began to make sense to me in my final years of school. As most of my work is informed by my own direct experiences, painting became a way of processing what I was feeling or saying something in a medium I felt most confident in. In this way, painting has become a kind of meditation for me.
Thinking about how to portray, frame and colour a certain experience allows me to investigate my own feelings. Most of the work shown here, for example, is about insomnia - something I experienced throughout school. By translating this onto canvas it became clear that insomnia is a multi-faceted experience. On one level, insomnia felt like a violation; sleep is a time that is supposed to be peaceful but instead becomes riddled with panic and restlessness. In this way insomnia also elicits a dichotomisation of the self. You become your own enemy in a struggle for sleep. On another level, it also contains an element of muted tranquillity. Not only invisible to an onlooker, insomnia can dilute your interactions with the world through tiredness. I have tried to evoke both feelings in my work.
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