About Brent Record | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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About Brent Record

Artist Photo

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.

Artist CV


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.

Employment Career:

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.
- Secretary 1969/70.

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.

Public lectures

a) Aspects of the Modern Movement (Natal Technikon - two lectures, published 1971).

b) Sculpture in the Modern Movement (Durban Art Gallery) 1972.

c) Major Movements in Modern Art. (Natal Technikon - two lectures, published 1971).

d) The Photographer and the Artist - a history of interaction (M.L. Sultan College 1974).

e) A Century of Change in Art 1870 - 1970. Five Lectures - University of Natal Extension Unit September/October 1976.

f) A Century of Change in Art - 5 lectures (Vaal Triangle Technikon 1978).

g) Die Ontwikkelingstadia van die skeppende kind (Potchefstroom Universiteit vir C.H.O. Dames-aksiegroep 1979).

h) Kuns en Kreatiwiteit in die Laerskool / Art and Creativity in the Primary School. (Short course - Vaal Triangle 1980)

i) Kitsch. (This lecture has been given on more than 25 occasions to a variety of interest groups throughout South Africa).

j) Watercolour Society of South Africa - lectures at National Conferences:

  • Alternative Water Colour 1988.
  • Kitsch 1990.
  • Expressivity in Child Art 1994.
  • How white people painted black people in South African art 1997.

k) Exhibition Openings: Guest Speaker at opening of literally dozens of exhibitions in several towns in South Africa.

Art Exhibitions and Competitions

1978 : Vaal Triangle Technikon: One-man exhibition.
Walsh Marais Gallery, Durban: One-man exhibition.

1979 : Carel de Wet H.T Skool, Vanderbijlpark: Group exhibition.

1982 : S.A. Association of Arts, Overport, Durban, One-man exhibition.

1982-1989 : Vanderbijlpark Art Gallery Association - regularly exhibited on members' exhibitions.

1987 : Ivan Solomon Gallery, Technikon Pretoria: Group exhibition.

1988 : HSRC Building - Inauguration: Focus on People - Group exhibition.

1988 : Vanderbijlpark Art Gallery. One-man exhibition.

1989 : Shell Gallery, Johannesburg - Staff Group exhibition.

1989 : Stegmann Gallery, U.O.F.S. - Staff Group exhibition.

1990 : Goldfields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon - Art School Staff Exhibition

1990 : University of Bophuthatswana - Solomon Plaatje Memorial Exhibition/
competition: Prize Winner in Painting (shared with Tommy Motswai).

1990 : Natal Technikon Gallery, Durban. Four Transvaal Artists.

1991 : Goldfields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon - Art School Staff Exhibition.

1991-1993 : Cape Town Triennial - one work selected for exhibition.

1992 : Goldfields Gallery,Vaal Triangle Technikon - Art School Staff Exhibition.

1992 : Kempton Park Fine Arts Exhibition/Competition - 2 selected works.

1992 : NSA Gallery, Durban: Durban Revisited. Group exhibition.

1993 : Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg: Bertrams Art of Africa Competition. Finalist - Group exhibition.

1993 : Goldfields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon - Art School Staff Exhibition

1993 : Pretoria Art Museum. S.A.A.A. (N.Tvl) and Momentum Life exhibition - 2 works selected. Group exhibition.

1993 : NSA Gallery, Overport Durban: Artists' Photographs.

1994 : Goldfields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon - Art School Staff Exhibition

1994 : Technikons Drawing Exhibition:Bloemfontein,Welkom and Vanderbijlpark.

1994 : Kempton Park Fine Arts Exhibition/Competition - one work selected.

1994 : Pretoria SAAA (N.Tvl) Staff Group exhibition.

1994 : Goldfields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon: One man exhibition

1995 : WSSA, Norscot Manor,Sandton - Group Exhibition

1995 : Kempton Park Fine Arts Competition - one work selected.

1996 : Potchefstroom Museum, APSA Regional

1996 : Gold Fields Gallery, Vaal Triangle Technikon, one man show

1998 : WSSA, Norscot Manor, Sandton - Group Exhibition

1999 : Gallery 88, Sasolburg. One-man show, Works from the last ten years

2000 : Kempton Park Tembisa Fine Arts Awards - two works selected.

2000 : FNB Vita Crafts Now Millenium Awards Exhibition, The African Window, Pretoria -one work selected.

2000 : Potchefstroom, FNB Vita Crafts exhibition, Aardklop Festival

2001 : Gallery 88, Sasolburg -one-man show, sculpture in clay and paper fibre

2002 : Millenium Gallery, Pretoria. One-man show, paintings and sculptures

2003 : Art.co.za Gallery, Parkhurst, Jojhannesburg. Group show, paintings and sculpture

2005 : Gallery 88, Sasolburg. One-man show, paintings and sculptures

2006-2007 : Participated in 2 Group shows at Gallery 88 Sasolburg

2008 : Arts Association Pretoria - one-man show, paintings and sculpture

2008 : OUTSITE Vaal University of Technology - outdoors on-campus group show of sculpture

Work in Collections

Human Sciences Research Council Collection, Pretoria.

Wits University Galleries, Witwatersrand University.

Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark.

Vaal Triangle Technikon, Secunda.

Numerous Private Collections.