A life's work in retrospect

12th October 2017 10:43 AM
LOOKING BACK: Denis Brockie will showcase his works at an exhibit on Saturday night at the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery. LOOKING BACK: Denis Brockie will showcase his works at an exhibit on Saturday night at the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery. Matthew Purcell

A LIFE'S work will go on show this Saturday as local artist Denis Brockie exhibits his "retrospective”.

His works have been individually acclaimed and landed him numerous prizes but this is the first time they will all hang in the one room for all to see.

His wife, Maggie, will also participate in the show, with her sculptures set to complement Denis's work on the night.

"As I've had my 70th this year we, we being my daughter and I, decided it was appropriate to hold a retrospective,” Denis said.

"Really that's what it's about, just to get a collection of 17 years work together, because it's never happened before,” he said.

Born in New Zealand, Denis studied at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts in the 1960s before travelling and eventually settling in the Granite Belt in 1977.

During the course of his artistic career he's participated in exhibitions across Australia and New Zealand and won the 2006, 2009 and 2015 D'Arcy Doyle Landscape Prize, as well as the Stanthorpe Festival Art Prize in 2012.

"Professionally I began doing it 17 years ago full time,” Mr Brockie said.

"I was a sign writer - that's what I used to do in the Stanthorpe district back in the 1980s.

"Then I moved away to Stradbroke Island. The sign writing there led to the painting of a series of murals with island scenes and, as a result of that, I decided to drop the sign writing.

"It was sort of prompted by technology taking over. I didn't really want to go down the digital sign road.”

But it was a leap of faith that worked for Denis.

"It was successful for me - I was able to make a living.”

Over the years his style has morphed with early and late works a stark contrast to his prize-winning landscapes.

"The landscapes and seascapes came along in the 2000s but the abstracts are really from a much earlier phase when I was an art student many years ago.

"They were always there in the background ... as a hobbyist I'd paint abstracts but I became interested in combining the two.”

He concedes, to the untrained eye, abstract work can appear schizophrenic.

These days a lot of the work to be exhibited belongs in private collections.

"When I was offered the space and asked whether I wanted the whole space, then Maggie and I talked about her putting sculptures in there.

"I've actually been collecting paintings since early August. I began driving around South-East Queensland, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Stradbroke Island.

"I have relied on the owners' generosity but there will still be a dozen works for sale.

"This is a one-off for me. It's not going to happen again,” Denis said.