Childhood adventure and loss of innocence

Story by Jack Foley

SELF-taught artist David Bromley is currently showing an exhibition of his work at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery and Charlotte Street Gallery in London, as part of the 'Songlines season XXI'.

Born in Sheffield, England, in 1960, David Bromley came to Australia as a small child. He is currently based in Adelaide and has had exhibitions in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart and Adelaide since the mid-1980s. He has had portraits hung in the Archibald prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1999 and 2001, and is represented in state gallery collections and numerous corporate and private collections throughout Australia.

Influenced by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Glen Baxter and the characters and style childhood books such as the once popular Boys Own Annuals, Bromley's paintings are usually about childhood adventures and loss of innocence. They have an ambiguity which is created by a mood of optimism juxtaposed with a sense of loss as the artist captures the courage and fragility of children.

Rich layers of vibrant colours cover the canvas, drawing on abstract expressionist tendencies and figures are outlined in black in a way which is reminiscent of comic book imagery.

The artist is also known for his nudes which, although they represent something of a departure both in subject matter and tone, provide an insight into 'the adult and very private Bromley, the observant and reflective David, the artist who pays homage to beautiful women' (as described by Michael Reid, art market analyst for The Australian).

Jeff Makin, of the Herald Sun, also noted that... "as male adolescence is interrupted by puberty and girls, so is this exhibition with paintings of pin-up beauties such as Rebecca, Melinda and Jillian. In these larger works Bromley tackles the neglected theme of the female nude, and openly celebrates their youthful forms as objects of mystery and desire."

Bromley himself states: "I have been painting portraits for years but mainly concentrating on the face. I wanted to evolve these portraits by adding emotion expressed through the body. I have taken photographs for years - doing fashion shoots - stills for film & music clips.

"My aim is to represent the female form in a way that parallels the sexy, contemporary fashion & photographic magazines. It has been challenging & rewarding process and I have been inspired by love of Warhol's work in particular his portraiture and figurative work."

The artist has exhibited internationally and his work is held in collections around the world. All paintings - subject to availability. Prices range from between £50 - £6,000 & commissions accepted.

Art lovers can judge for themselves as the exhibition runs at both galleries until Saturday, June 29.

RHG, 35 Windmill Street, London W1T 2JS. Tel: 0207-436 4899
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm

The Charlotte Street Gallery, 28 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2NA
Tel: 020 7255 2828 Fax: 020 7580 2828

Click here for the Rebecca Hossack website...

Main picture is taken from the nude collection and is an acrylic on canvas entitled Romi, while the picture to the right is entitled Tumbling Boys and is an acrylic and nylon thread on canvas

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