Studio Visit

Painting From A Self-Built, Recycled Timber Home

Abstract artist Brett Weir calls Zürich his adopted home, and has garnered a loyal following of fans throughout Europe.

Today he opens his first major solo in Australia, Sonic Variations, as part of Sydney’s Art Month. But that’s not all that has been calling him back, as we discover!

Elle Murrell

The home/studio artist Brett Weir has built himself in Gippsland. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

The artist’s first major Australian exhibition opens today. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Brett has split his time between Switzerland and Australia over the past 10 years. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

The home is built from recycled timber. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

It also features recycled and second-hand furniture exclusively. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Living sustainably is important to the artist, whose work is inspired by his immediate environment. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Brett’s abstract art on display in his home. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Inside his home studio, featuring works for the forthcoming exhibition. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Brett’s paintings have a strong concern for science and metaphysics, and he draws inspiration from Gerhard Richter’s abstracts and James McNeill Whistler’s nocturnes. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

This Gippsland locale has a long history of inspiring artists, and Brett explains, it was where Fred Williams reinvented the Australian landscape tradition in 1971. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

His art explores the concepts of home, memory, belonging and drift.  ‘Blurred images in my paintings evoke the transitory nature of personal experiences, the passage of time, and the ever-changing relationship to one’s past.,’ he explains. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

The artist explains that he works intuitively and without expectation, constructing each painting ‘akin to a piece of nature.’

‘The paintings draw from his own experiences to engage with a collective experience shared by all those who inhabit the planet,’ critiques Gippsland Art Gallery curator Simon Gregg.

Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit.

Elle Murrell
28th of February 2019

Brett Weir is the artist and aluminium is his canvas. But recycled timber is also integral to this tale.

Creating arresting works directly on metal, Brett’s experiments with vivid swathes of colour have caught the eye of many fans and collectors across Europe.

Over the past decade, the artist has divided his time between Gippsland in regional Victoria, and his adopted home of Zurich, Switzerland. But the last 12 months have seen the painter renew his focus on Australia, with an exhibition of his ‘Lunar Paintings’ at the newly redeveloped Gippsland Art Gallery.

On the back of that success, Brett opens his first major Australian solo show, Sonic Variations, at Michael Reid Gallery today. The show comprises ‘manifestations of studied chaos,’ he describes. These captivating, gestural works originate from Brett’s personal memories, experiences and photographs, and have been described as reminiscent of ‘glittering  celestial maps’, ‘organic compositions’ and  ‘sonic resonances’.

Commanding in scale, the works are created by layering enamel across metal sheets with brushes, squeegees and other tools. The artist works intuitively, yet very methodically, akin to a scientist in a laboratory. ‘Through lengthy investigation on smaller scale studies, I first work out how a medium is going to behave when subjected to certain stresses and conditions, or how one colour will react to another given their different base compounds, pigments and binders,’ explains Brett. ‘From this point the foundation is set, but it is always the unknown that most excites me.’

Also channeling inspiration from Gerhard Richter’s abstracts and James McNeill Whistler’s nocturnes, along with musical influences and his immediate environment, this ethereal body of work has come to life alongside another ambitious undertaking. You see, Brett has been drawn back to Australian shores not only for this amazing exhibition opportunity, but for a life-long dream project.

Over many months, he has worked to self-build his home and artist studio near Walkerville – a work of art itself. The residence features only recycled timber, and has also been fitted out with recycled furniture sourced from across the world. The surrounds haven’t been neglected either, with Brett planting over one thousand trees on the property. It’s easy to see how working from this incredible space has elevated his work to new heights!

Sonic Variations by Brett Weir
February 28th to March 30th
Michael Reid Gallery
105 Kippax Street,
Surry Hills, New South Wales.

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