Jim Brodie

Works on paper
Queensland College of Art Gallery
Feb 2 - 25, 1987

An exhibition held in February this year at the Queensland College of Art presented Jim Brodie's prints, drawings and paintings from

1984-1986. It is indicative of the prolific output and creative energy of this artist that another successful exhibition of his work was held at the Gold Coast Centre Gallery during the previous month.

It is doubtful whether Brodie declared on arriving in Queensland from Canada, "My God, his place needs a Piranesi……so here I am" as Hackney did in 1963 on arriving in California, nevertheless the impact of the particular environment and its way of life have proved a source for, and influence on, his work during his four years in Queensland.

Like Charles Gosford, an English artist now living in regional New South Wales who stated "One thing that amazes me - the way the sun beats down with such clarity. The clarity of air from above is unlike anything in Europe" Jim (who originally trained as a colourfield artist in Montreal) is challenged by the effect of atmosphere on colour.

It is the impact of these two elements, the regional subject matter and the brilliance of colour that strikes the viewer on first seeing the exhibition.

In Jim Brodie's work the arrested particular moment becomes the universal moment. With economy of detail, the image appears as a symbolic representation of a place and time as much as an objective recording of it. This can be seen in the previously mentioned work, and in the print Queensland Winter 1985.

From the peculiar intimacy of the houses and small back gardens of Coorparoo, the oddments of lattice, drainpipes, backstairs and washing, Jim creates an iconographic work. By the repetition of bright green palms against a cloudless sky, patterning clothes hoists against fences and lawns, and uniting these images with the dappling of light and shade, the artist brings about an interaction between the decorative elements and the succinctly stated imagery typical of this particular environment.

Some of the artist's portraits are also tied to location and emphasise the regional impact on the psychology of the sitter. In Bundaberg Tourist 1, the foreigner, identified by his poised cigar and Texan hat, is vulnerable and ill at ease in the environment of a burning cane field, and appears to be reflecting, relating this experience to another known environment. The viewer is struck by the disconcerting simplicity and naive directness of the work.

Jim Brodie displays a mastery of printing technique which he combines with an analytical and experimental approach to his work. The meandering convoluted line of many of his prints, their varying texture, tonal change, intense and vivid fragmented colour invite the viewer to enjoy each individual change for its own sake.

We look forward to the next exhibition of this regional artist who has something vital to say about our environment.