Saturday, 19 July 2008

SHOWCASE REVIEW: Joe Daws and Dan Brock

Today, I drove down to Brisbane to check out a few art shows and check out an art supply shop. Arriving on Montague street was hectic due to the West End markets, but I eventually made my way to the Art Shed - and left without spending a thing - typical me. Next, I walked down to West End and bumped into an old friend, Danny- a Muso come IT guy - and his daughter Franke, who are locals on the West End Scene. West End has become very busy and a bit more trendy than when I use to work there in the mid to late eighties. Next stop was the market, for a coffee and people watch - I sample a crowd and file it all away for later assessment, never wanting to be part of any group - I also ate an apple.

Next stop was the Big Momma's - GOMA and QAG - Brisbane's State Galleries. I meant to see the Picasso show but just couldn't part with my money again. Instead, I checked out the Sidney Nolan and Gordon Bennett surveys. Nolan's works were surprisingly good, and I thought they were some of the best works I had ever seen in the QAG. Gordon Bennett's work in the GOMA was also great - complex, political, personal, with much detail and some great technique - very jealous!

I made a quick stop in at Jan Manton's gallery and had a chat to Jan about Daniel Mafe's work - there was a couple of good works. Then I made my way to the Dell gallery at the Queensland College of Art and checked out Ian Burns work which I really liked - and will try to review when I get time - interestingly an old High School teacher (Ross Woodrow) of mine wrote his catalogue notes.

Lastly, at 5pm I went to the opening of a joint show by Joe Daws and Dan Brock. This was at the Art Factory Gallery on Merivale St - not a bad little gallery. All the works on display are paintings and most have some relationship to the Glasshouse Mountains.

I managed to take a few photos - click on a photo for a larger view.

Joe's paintings were all, oil on canvas, mostly depicting sky, mountains and trees. In a few of the works I can see an  influence or reference to Cezanne's work. To me the works evoke an emotion, derived from a spiritual connection to nature. The works are actually quite loose and free, with many brush strokes building up various textures and some layers to create approximate samplings of the real thing. The colour schemes are also effective and help convey the light conditions and atmosphere . Joe's work at times, seems to show a poetic interplay between light and the fringes of matter - trees and land. His works at a distance are quite realistic but the closer you get to them the more impressionistic they become - he is quite a keen observer of the landscape and latter day impressionist. Joe's website can be found here.

Here is one I sampled from his website -

Dan Brock's works were done in acrylic and ink on canvas or ply. The ply works were like floating panels as the support timbers were set in a few inches away from the edge, so that all one could see was the thin edge of the ply. Quite a few of the works were multi-panelled - either diptychs or triptychs. Dan's work also focused on mountains, trees and sky - but in a completely different style and manner to Joe's. Many of Dan's paintings had various levels or planes - a forward plane normally of branches and flowers, a middle area reminiscent of mountains or buildings and then a stark, crisp sky as a backdrop. Occasionally the work had an overlay of ink drawn in a stencilled style. One work had a band across the middle of the work that blotted out the delicately drawn foliage behind. This creates a barrier that suggests an event and confronts the viewer, who in turn has to reconcile this back into the work - the myriad of 'Sigmar Polke' like dots aids in this visual process. Here is the painting, which I raided from his blog -

Many of Dan's works like Joe's, speak of beauty but Dan's beauty in some way seems to be cast against an urban mindset - it's as if the harsh silhouetted, stencil type images are giving way to an emerging beauty, particularly as depicted in the blossoming, Japanese like branches and flowers. Dan's Website/Blog can be found here.

As a postscript, Joe recommends I go back and see the Picasso show - and I probably will.


  1. My lovely wife often tells me I'm a tight arse when it comes to spending money on stuff like art materials and coffee and a cake - I mean, it's taken me nearly 20 years to start squeezing paint out of the pile of tubes I have in my collection. I've got to thinking that it's possibly better if I use it than bequeath it. And cake at coffee shops - How much? Far out, twelve bucks for coffee and fruit toast - forget it I'll have water.
    But the Picasso show I would bite at. I reckon your crazy if you miss it - you know what - theres Modigliani's in it. I'm close to jumping on a jet to see that, the only reason I don't is because we've already maxed out on a trip to NZ and we've got a wedding coming up (personally I think the latter is a great motivator to spend now before the caterers get their jammy mitts on it).
    Go see the Modig's for me.

  2. Well, if you do get to Briso' let me know and I will visit Picasso with you. Otherwise, I will be down there in a few weeks and will post my response. All the best with the wedding stuff - we had two in one year a few years back - and I wanted to get tight with the bite - but I kept my self out of the picture - which was a good thing.


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