Brendan O’Brien

Names on the land

16 July – 4 August 2024

Artist Note


is empty.
Should I fill it
with the wing beats
of small birds?
Stephanie de Montalk
Names on the land is part of a continuing series of works, the images here contain elements of history, folklore, music, nostalgia  and poetry; these fragments share and illuminate the places we inhabit. This exhibition has emerged from various sources – one group of works came to light as a cover project for Stephanie de Montalk’s collection of poems ‘As the trees have grown’ (Te Herenga Waka University Press, 2023); other images came from encounters with the compositions on Felix Bornholdt’s recording, ‘Man Overboard’ (Raoul Island Records, 2023), and another group had their beginning in an audience at the Pyramid Club, hearing a miraculous performance by Melbourne based ensemble ‘The Charles Ives Singers’. The works here can be seen in various lights; at once as disoriented visions of our location and times, as configurations of matter and space and as  otherworldly meditations.
Special thanks to Vicki Hughes.

All works are collages incorporating antique engravings, pencil and ink, apart from number 16 where the poem has been hand-printed by the artist with unique collage additions. All works are signed on the front and also signed and titled on the verso in pencil, these works were all completed in 2024. The frames have been crafted by Redican Framing using recycled Rimu timber.