Artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green have been collaborating together since 1989. The artists work across the mediums of painting, photography and digital reproduction to delve into the meaning of representation itself and how it differentiates from documentation. The artists are very much working within an academic environment, having both completed PhDs and have current positions at the University of Melbourne.
Lyndell Brown was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1961. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1988 and went on to complete a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from VCA in 1992 with the thesis topic “The Copy and the Fake”. In 1999 Brown commenced studies on a PhD at the University of New South Wales; she is currently an honorary researcher at the University of Melbourne
Charles Green was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1953. Green completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1981. He went on to complete Honours in Fine Arts from the University of Melbourne in 1987, and Masters from Monash University in 1993 with the thesis topic “Peripheral Vision: Abstract Painting and Criticism in Australia during the 1980s”. Green completed a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1998 with the thesis topic “Thief in the Attic: Artistic Collaborations and Modified Identities in International Art after 1968”; he has gone on to become an Associate Professor in Contemporary Art at the University of Melbourne. Since the early 90s, Green has been a prominent and prolific art historian, critic, curator and artist in Australia. Green has published two monographs, Peripheral Vision: Contemporary Australian Art 1970-94 by Craftsman House, Sydney 1995, and The Third Hand: Artistic Collaborations from Conceptualism to Postmodernism, University of Minnesota Press 2001, both resulting from the research during his Masters and PhD. Green has also been the editor for many exhibition catalogues such as Fieldwork for the National Gallery of Victoria, 2002, and 2006: Contemporary Commonwealth, National Gallery of Victoria, 2006. He has also had chief editing positions for publications such as Grove Art Online, Broadsheet Adelaide and AC Collective NYC. Green has also completed research through curating, in 2002 he co-curated an exhibition at the National Gallery Victoria called Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968-2002, referencing the 1968 exhibition The Field at NGV and their commitment to Contemporary Art from that date. In 2004 Green curated the show 2004: Australian Culture Now at the National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and followed with 2006: Contemporary Commonwealth, also at the NGV and ACMI. These exhibitions were a major survey in contemporary art, showing an overview of contemporary artists from Australia and the Commonwealth.
Green and Browns work together began as painting the landscape in a traditional form. The artists explore the concept of collaboration through the sharing of ideas and the loss of the artists personal hand, in its place a third hand is introduced which allows a new state of creativity to take place. During the 1990s the artists gave up painting, which offered space for their work to morph into the use of montage and consideration of photography and painting as a means of representation from the mid 1990s. The current method of the artists is to paint from photographs, creating a photo-realistic painting containing trompe l’oeil techniques of a pastiche of cultural references. As the artists work in an academic environment their work is loaded with references to art of the past and present, from their consideration of classical painting techniques and aims, to the contrasting and linking of different images from the 19th to 21st century and what it means to create these windows of suspended reality. The translation of photograph to painting is an informed act in relation to the subtle difference between documentation and representation, and also combines the training of each artist, Green as a painter and Brown as a photographer.
Since the early 1990s Green and Brown have exhibited together in solo exhibitions and group shows around Australia and internationally. They are often included in surveys of contemporary Australian art such as Tranquility, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and M.Y. Art Prospects, New York, 2005, with Rose Farrell & George Parkin, Photographica Australis at ARCO Madrid, National Gallery of Thailand, National Gallery of Singapore, 2003-2004, and Tales of the Unexpected at the National Gallery of Australia, 2002. In 2007 the duo travelled to Afghanistan for six weeks as official war artists for the Australian War Memorial. The artists documented the Australian troops and the surrounding landscapes, creating paintings from these photographs with montages of paintings of existing photographs and documents in the media to create new and provocative works regarding Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan. The resulting works were exhibited in the travelling exhibition Framing Conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan that opened at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in November 2008.
Brown and Green are represented nationally and internationally, having their work displayed and in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of West Australia, McClelland Regional Gallery, University of Western Sydney, University of Sydney and in corporate collections in Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Japan.