About Brent Record
Brent Record was born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1944, and matriculated at Glenwood Boys' High in Durban, Natal in 1961.
Brent Record has a highly experimental approach to the use of mediums and techniques, resulting sometimes in the use of these different mediums and techniques even within in the same work or art.
I scratch, scrape and sandpaper a lot of it off during the process, so sometimes the paintings have the surface of a palimpsest. Many images are worked over and over, because he enjoys the business of altering an existing image, of teasing it out to reach a different result or even different meaning. In this exhibition this is most apparent, for example, in the images created from the silhouettes of human figures found in shooting targets.
I like the dictum: where knowledge stops, creativity begins. My working method is one which is greatly dependent on my response to the often random forms which emerge from the medium I happen to be using at the time. I rarely start with more than a vague idea or image, sometimes nothing more than a scribble or a note taken from my copious files of scribbles and sketches. Initially there is no attempt to impose a pre-determined idea on the material - one leaves a lot of space for the accidental, the contingent and coincidental, and the vague image-ideas only become developed during the making. It is then that more specific meanings begin to suggest themselves, and in developing these, a more concrete form of iconography emerges.
It may also happen that the more iconic elements arise from my response to outside stimuli, things in the physical and social environment, other ideas or images in other media, even my own photos, but these get transformed and reduced to something more elemental. Either way, I enjoy creating works which have multiple meanings or which evoke different responses from different viewers.
Parallel to this is his enjoyment in using some very elementary materials and mediums, such as powder paint and oxides with buttermilk (forming a casein layer), or encaustic using bees- and candle wax, home-made charcoal made from palm leaves, scraps of collage and, occasionally, found objects, (when making sculpture, he has a similar approach, using very basic materials, such as paper pulp, bitumen, fibres and scrap and junk).
Although one of the most common images in his work is the human face or head, it takes on a very wide range of forms and appearances.
When I start to create a face or a `portrait head`, I have no preconceived idea of how it will look, how it will turn out, - young or old, with a mean scowl or a contented, smug smile, sometimes not even the gender is apparent at first. As I work into the surface, the face begins to dictate its own terms, it begins to frown or glare or pout or simply to look straight through you, and I then have to engage with that and develop it along its own lines to bring it into some kind of plausible existence. (Some faces can be really stubborn about this). The result is neither a mask nor a portrait, but rather something half way in between. If that doesn`t materialise, if it doesn`t start looking back at you, engaging you, then it is a dead face and I have to scrape it off and start again. (I have done some faces 6 or 7 times over, until I feel that they have reached a point where they can be allowed to have a viable existence).
Much of the work hovers between the comic and the tragic, but the line between them is such a soft, blurred border, so that funny and sad merge into one another with no jolt, no collision, their shades run together for a little brief while.
Brent Record is the former Director of the School of Art and Design at Vaal University of Technology. He has a BA (Hons) and a Master`s Diploma in Technology (Painting), for which his thesis was 'The Changing Perception and Representation of Black People in South African Art`(1994). He has an abiding interest in so-called Outsider art, child art and art activities used in therapy, and he currently conducts a weekly art group at a clinic for bipolar depressives and other patients in Vanderbijlpark.
BA (Fine Arts & English) University of Natal Pietermaritzburg
UED - University of Natal Pietermaritzburg.
National Higher Dip.F.A. Vaal Triangle Technikon Dissertation: "Interpretations of the Human Figure as Subject Matter in the work of certain artists between 1945 and 1985 - Bacon, Golub, Freud, Vespignani, Kienholz and Clemente."
Masters Diploma F.A. Vaal Triangle Technikon Thesis title: "The Changing Perception and Representation of Black People in South African Art".
BA (Honours) (cum laude) in English at Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.
1966 - 1970 : High school teacher (Art and English) Natal schools.
1971 - 1975 : Lecturer, History of art and drawing, etc. Natal Technikon, Durban.
1975 - 1976 : Co-owner: Town Studio, (private art centre) Pinetown, Natal.
1976 - 1977 : Lecturer, Foundation Studies. Department of Fine Arts, University of Durban-Westville, Natal.
1977 - 1978 : Senior Lecturer (Acting-Head of Department) School of Art and Design, Food and Clothing Technology, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark. Gauteng.
1978 - 1987 : Director: Schools of Art and Design and Food and Clothing Technology, Vaal Triangle Technikon
1987 - 1993 : Director: School of Art and Design, Vaal Triangle Technikon
1994 - 1999 : Director: Bureau of Community Service, Vaal Triangle Technikon.
2000 - : Artist; owner Brent's Art & Language Service cc.
Community Art Activities:
Durban Art Teachers' Association 1968 - 1971.
S.A. Association of Arts, Natal (member) 1971 - 1975.
SAAA, Natal Junior Committee chairman, 1972 - 1973.
College Arts Group (N.C.A.T.E.) Staff representative and chairman 1972 - 1974.
Springfield Mental Sanatorium - Art Activity Group (occupational therapy) 1977.
Society of Designers of S.A. (affiliate member): 1979 - 1985.
Art Gallery Association of the Vaal Triangle, (Chairman) 1982 - 1987. Life Member.
Association of Potters of S.A. Vaal Triangle Branch Honorary - Pres. 1980 - 1983. Life Member.
Africus Biennale: Education Committee and Selection Panel 1994.
Vaal Cultural Forum - Chairman Central Committee. 1993 - 1994.
Travelled to major cultural centres and art events in the following countries: Spain, France, Netherlands, U.K. (including Scotland), Ireland, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Greece, U.S.A., Brazil and Ecuador.