Andrew Brady

Oil paint, first used in Europe by the Flemish masters of the 15th Century, was quickly taken up by the Renaissance Italians, being better suited than tempera to conveying proper perspective and a sense of volume. It has been the main medium of painting throughout art history from the Renaissance. For centuries, art students were first trained in drawing. Only after the eye had mastered draughtsmanship, often after years of rigorous effort, were would-be artists moved on to mixing oils and considered capable of taking their plunge into the mainstream of art history.

In our time that stream seems to have slowed to a trickle. Many may think that it has run into the sands altogether, usurped by a coterie of opportunists, each one paraded out by the great Magician of the Tate to represent Art Today. But a determined few have insisted on looking to the tradition of the Old Masters of representational art and to seeking out the schools where their techniques can be painstakingly learnt.

Andrew Brady is such an artist and an outstanding talent. He doesn't see the great tradition as a corpus to be slavishly copied but as a launching pad for an artist who is very much of his time and determined to take oil on canvas onward and upward. The term 'oil on canvas' used to be the mainstay of auction, exhibition and dealers' catalogues. Around thirty years ago the word artwork began to appear more often and has come to displace the established term. 'Artwork' is wonderfully elastic and can be stretched to cover anything from a heap of bricks to Tracey's bed, or a heap of bricks on Tracey's bed or even a heap of Traceys on Margate beach. There's every reason to celebrate all this Duchampian joie de vivre and creativity. But to take most of it seriously or to tolerate its capture of the great institutions of learning and display, while neglecting those artists who, in our own time, can stand comparison with the finest past exemplars of artistic talent in the mainstream tradition is surely a great shame.

Aside from being an absolute master of his craft, Andrew Brady shows a consitent ability to impart a mythic dimension to his paintings which can only come from a very particular combination of of artistic vision and individual sensibility. Look closely at his paintings. Look at the big picture, but look too at the details. the hands of his figures for instance. How many artists today can paint like this? They were few in any age.

Do whatever you must to acquire a painting by Andrew Brady in our fallow, barren patch of art history. Heirs yet unborn will applaud your perspicacity in this interregnum of the intellect.

Jamie Dillon,

Curator and Director of Visage Gallery  | 0203 589 1577