Terra Incognita // Ross Brown


“Terra Incognita” Ross Brown

Ross Browns’ work explores environments where architecture and nature, order and disorder overlap. As inspiration, he uses real places that have become such a part of our everyday that tend to go unnoticed, such as motorway overpasses, billboards, industrial zones, etc. “Terra Incognita” was a term used by early cartographers to describe areas of land which remained undocumented, so in this exhibition what he has set out to find is a form of contemporary “Terra Incognita”. After exploring each space, and taking multiple photographs, he also takes a lot of interest in understanding the history of each place and intended use, but also how abandonment and time have changed these functions.

Seven of his paintings for this exhibition were made following a trip to an area colloquially known as the “Braehead Tunnels”, a void between two sections of motorway on the outskirts of Glasgow.  The other works depict surfaces found whilst walking through the city; advertising billboards, signs and hoardings surrounding building sites. The titles are sometimes straightforwardly descriptive (“Embankment”, “Overpass” etc), at other times they are taken from song lyrics (“In the Half Light”, “Subterranea”) echoing the character of the space as both functional, utilitarian infrastructure and a space that has been appropriated by a teenage subculture. 

            During his creation process he borrows as much from abstraction as he does from representation. He stays faithful to the architectural structures as they exist, but at the same time, by using a variety of chance-based paintings techniques, he is able to create a landscape in which control but also chaos rules. This way he is able to depict how the places he uses as subject matter have transitioned and been through construction but also destruction over time.

Biographical details: Ross M Brown (b. 1986) lives and works in Edinburgh. He graduated from the MFA course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2010.  His work has received prizes including the NS Macfarlane and Linda Clark Nolan awards from the Royal Scottish Academy (2010, 2008) and has been shortlisted for Saatchi New Sensations and the Griffin Art Prize (2010, 2012).  Recent exhibitions include “Concrete Myths” (solo show) at Lacey Contemporary, London (2015), “Demimonde” (group show) curated by Slate Projects, London (2015), and “The Margins” (solo show) at EB & Flow Gallery, London in 2012.  Ross’ work features within the University of Dundee art collection and is owned by private collectors across the UK.