Brenton Drechsler

Reykjavik 3, 2023

120 × 91 cm
Derived by my personal experiences, I seek to make work that is steeped in personal narrative, through the materiality of oil paint and the field of painting. Constructing and re-imagining my own sense of home and belonging has become a central method for my choice of subject matter and the slip of my Queer painterly self-expression. Over the last year I have visited several countries in Western Europe exploring responses and the potential for connections to place. I have done this in response to an ever-present sense, of the absence of belonging here in Australia and in considering the potential significance of my family heritage abroad. I spent a lot of time visiting urban environments that are in some way connected to my German and English Ancestry but also looking further afield to places I would like to inhabit and make art in, one day. Iceland has come to feel familiar and comfortable to me, even though it is as far away and as different from Australia as i have been able to get. The barren, volcanic, icy vistas speak to my sense of isolation as a Queer person, in heteronormative environments. My physical and emotional responses to foreign places and how that impacts upon my notions of place based-identity has formed the basis for my honours research, this year at Adelaide Central School of Art. In the work my ever-present green and white stripe operates as my alter ego, smothering the letterbox on the far left. The other letterboxes are treated by me in different colour variations, which is my attempt at experimenting with decoys and inciting difference. The sky is a very dark, cold oxide brown, which evokes my sense of community in darkened Queer spaces. This is contrasted by the optimistic, cheerful application of lemon yellow and sky blue on the shed, which feels artificial, to me.

Brenton is an emerging visual artist whose practice explores ideas around privacy, personal narrative, and opacity through the subjective lens of his queer identity. He also explores the absence of belonging to place. Brenton experiments and investigates these themes utilising a variety of consistent motifs, like stripes, garments, foreign urban environments, career-based iconography and the subversion of “gendered” things. His research, writing and artistic methods have focused on queer subjectivity, subversion, and distortion, in relation to patriarchal systems and heteronormative environments. His practice also explores the right to opacity in contemporary visual art.

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