João Ferreira

David Brown

06 - 30 May 2009

© David Brown
TWO MEN AND THEIR DOG, close-up, 2009
"Two men and their dog"

6 - 30 May 2009

I made my first dog as a ‘dog ofwar’ in 1979 it was carved in wood and parts, like muzzles and collars, were clad in steel. Subsequently I had my second exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg in 1980. The theme of the dog had then evolved into a series called One man and his dog. These were monumental two-piece sculptures showing maimed figures on wheeled structures drawn by dogs.

My first studio was situated on the edge of District 6 in a derelict building in Canterbury Street. Life in this area was raw and hard. District Six was crumbling and meths drinking street people lived outside my studio window. The stories they told were of desperate lives, but with fondly conjured memories of homes that once existed and the pleasure of family once experienced. The sculptures I made at that time reflected this a microcosm of bizarre paradoxes made more stark by the ruthless oppression of the apartheid state.

Humour, too, however dark, has always been part of my iconography. After that time I never made another dog until a collector asked me in 2004 to make a large sculpture for him with two men and a dog. The 6 small dogs were maquettes for him to choose from. Enjoying revisiting an old theme I made a few more resulting in this small exhibition. Dogs are our closest companion species, but they can also go feral and become dangerous in ways not unlike their human masters.

- David Brown

João Ferreira Gallery in collaboration with the Kunskamer is proud to present David Brown's first solo exhibition with the gallery. David Brown has won many awards including the 1985 Johannesburg Centenary Sculpture competition, the HG Steyn Award for excellence in the arts, and the AA Mutual Life Vita Art Now Award for the year 1989. Brown's sculptures feature in many public collections including South African National Gallery, Cape Town, Durban Art Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Pretoria Art Museum, Tatham Art Gallery, University of Cape Town, and University of the Witwatersrand.