Opening in March 2021 in the Guthrey Centre, Cashel Street, Xgaleri is both an artist’s studio and art gallery. Artist and contemporary jeweller, designer and multi-media artist, Max Brown makes use of the gallery as the studio for his painting and jewellery, his mother, Sheila Brown, is represented by her paintings. Both are owner/operators of Xgaleri and their commitment to its establishment is grounded in their intentions to be part of the Cashel Street precinct, representing a commitment and example, and encouraging other artists and galleries into the city centre.
Both are equally conscious of the demands of retail space but are grateful for the dedication the landlord has for the Guthrey Centre which they both believe has huge potential and for the future of the area.
Studying in industrial design at Victoria University, Wellington Max Brown’s design background plays an important part in his practice, supporting his work as a painter. Currently, he is working on a series of minimalist abstract paintings with a specific interest in reconciling opposites, positive and negative shapes and relationships, part of the overriding influence of his background in design and architecture. ‘Tyranny is a black painting and I have been looking at the dark minimalism of Ralph Hotere’s paintings. It is difficult to achieve such depth within a single value, but I came up with this concept of tyranny, the overpowering. The materials are important. I am showcasing this thick dense medium of paint, but also the paint as clear translucent blue water - The point being to question these contrasts’.
Sheila Brown has been painting full-time as an artist for the past fifteen years, the subjects of her works are the birdlife of Aotearoa and the relationship of her subjects with her paint and palette knife on canvas. She describes the fragmented, yet connected imagery of her artwork as ‘like a photograph that has been folded and creased over time. All of my work begins with the palette knife and the story is told through the paint brush’. In Welcome Home, Godwits, Sheila comments that she was ‘very much thinking about Spring and the arrival of the godwits, the godwits represent the traveller returning home’.
Guthrey lanes, 126 Cashel Street
Central City, Christchurch
- Max Brown, Tyranny, 2021, acrylic on canvas