I see my paintings as a way to encourage and make visible those metaphorical images and sensations that normally reside deep in the unconscious. I like to believe that I am embracing Rudolf Arnheim’s statement that “Truly productive thinking takes place in the realms of imagery.

b. 1959, London
Lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand

Matthew Browne is an abstract painter based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. His striking geometric paintings feature sharp lines with bold, experimental colour palettes. His works could be read as overtly formalist, and connected to a long tradition of abstract painting, meshed in a discourse of surface, colour, form, and grids. But, in their subtleties, there is also something more open-ended and exploratory at play. Browne has described a process that starts in exploring formal relationships in colour and form but develops greater complexity as the work progresses.

There is a subtle but palpable visual tension in his paintings. Areas of soft transparency appear in some of the hard-edged linear forms. Subtle differences in underlying surface treatment create areas of discrepancy in a seemingly uniform block of colour.  Sharp lines meet the textural weave of linen, and the heterogeneous nature of matter subtly undermines the precision of the calculated shape. Different grades of substrate bring faint differences to the resolve of the paint. Overlapping areas of colour feature distinctions in paint medium, creating contrasting finishes. Matte flashe meets glossy oil. Such material frictions are part of the essence of painting, they arise from the specific properties of the materials themselves.

Browne is interested in the perception of the viewer and their relationship to the work. Too much precision, in his consideration, can make a work impenetrable. Whereas an element of material vulnerability can bring the work back to the relatable. This is a necessary aspect of the work – painting, after all, is a form of communication, though what it communicates is often outside of verbal language. He states, “I see my paintings as a way to encourage and make visible those metaphorical images and sensations that normally reside deep in the unconscious.” For Browne, a key aspect of what the paintings communicate is stillness, a respite from the cacophony of the world.

Browne’s process of titling taps into many of the themes of language, along with larger discourses around abstract painting. These titles are somewhat mystifying and deliberately so. They invite the viewer to look at the painting with wonder, and they convey some of the complexity of communication. 

Browne holds a BA from the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1982) and an MFA (Hons) from Elam School of Fine Arts led to an MFA in 2000. He has exhibited his work throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. His works are held in private collections throughout these countries, along with Denmark, Singapore, Canada and the USA. Public collections include The Royal Overseas League, London, and the Parliamentary Collection, Wellington.

Gow Langsford Gallery have represented Matthew Browne since 2022.


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