Brett has worked for a long time on this artwork, but unhappy with his work has decided to retouch. The work is inspired by Masaccio's work in Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
This is him in front off the big canvas
This is a copy of the article I have published in the past on NZ Art Monthly:
Brett a'Court: beyond the religious images
by Simona Albanese
by Simona Albanese
The Waipu artist, Brett a'Court, has recently held an exhibition at the
, in Wallace Art Gallery 305 Queen St, Auckland.
After his last exhibition in 2005 in Parnell, a'Court has disappeared from the artistic stage to reappear in the last two weeks of May in Auckland to present his new works, Do not Fear, clearly inspired to his strong Christian belief.
Religious art has always been a big part of art history and also
art history, even if some people do not believe so. A'Court stands out from the crowd, from the other artists, because he believes that what seems to be avoided in contemporary art is the belief and use attached to religious art, things which have held a fascination for him. New Zealand
When I asked him what he wanted to express to the people he told me 'my art practice has led me to a concept of religious art that holds a presence beyond raw emotion or blatant sentimentality, not divorcing it, but letting it lead the viewer into a place beyond fear ... everything is connected to fear; it seems to be the motor that drives this world. The spiritual quest is to replace the fear with faith. I have searched to find a way of painting this spiritual dimension.' In his works a'Court has been intrigued by Renaissance and Baroque art for their figurative representations of the spiritual, but it has also been influenced by breakthroughs in modernism and post modern art, which help the artist to delve into deeper realms. He believes there is a prophetic heritage in McCahon; 'we can build on this, and it is our foundation, our birthright.'
His works are often a mix of darkness and struggle: which is his personal reaction to suffering, a big part of life, but also as a deliberate attempt to discharge Christian imagery from the over fundamentalism found in some forms of Christianity. But this is not all, in these religious works there is another element constantly present, the sexual one. It is there not to shock, as some may expect, but it is such an integral part of human existence, that it cannot divorce it when in the search for truth and reality behind the veil of our existence.
The sexual element is evidently linked closely with spirituality, being a force closer to the Divine or at the opposite extreme, to the destructiveness of the human spirit. Either way, it should be not separated and suppressed in connection to ideas and theology of the spiritual, especially Christianity, where for too long it has been treated as a form of shame. It is a form of mystic truth as important as prayer or meditation; therefore it can not be separated.
In a'Court we can see the artist who has tried to both contribute and respond with his work to the ongoing question of religion, to the world to we belong and whether we believe in something above us.