Born 1976, Sydney, Australia
Born and raised in Sydney, Brooklyn Whelan is one of Australia’s leading contemporary visual artists. Working primarily with acrylics and oils on canvas, his style is heavily influenced by weather patterns and futurism. His work has been described as somewhere in between abstract and realism, ethereal, minimal and modern.
"As a painter, I work to develop paintings that speak about the beauty and power that exists within weather patterns. I constantly find myself staring into oncoming storms. I do not merely want to capture the image with my painting; rather, with strong bold strokes, I want to give it life and energy, also the sense of fiction and fantasy that one might see in an 80’s sci fi - Powerful electricity, but with a tone of grace, softness and movement."
Whelan’s commercial career has also seen him collaborate with some of the worlds biggest brands including Adidas, Samsung, Universal Records, Chivas Regal and Bergdorf Goodman among many others. He recently created an original typeface for Justin Bieber's single "Mark My Words" and was the first artist in residence with Australia's biggest music and arts festival, Splendour in the Grass.
‘Terra Nimbus’ Sydney, October 2019
Words by Jonathan Dalton
Whelan brings an iteratively considered change to his solo exhibition Terra Nimbus. His signature brooding, high contrast cloudscapes remain but he introduces a compelling new element with his explosion paintings.
There is a beguiling logic in Whelan’s choice. Explosions are the sudden, cataclysmic cousins of slow moving clouds but once captured in time and paint they become almost the same.
“It’s all about that phase shift with them both,” says Whelan “The act of disintegration is also an act of regeneration.”
That juxtaposition of forces continues throughout the show which brings a paradoxical lyricism to these works. He combines bold loose brushwork but subtly enhances with delicate touches of pure oil paints. The beautiful soft pinks and greys against the drama of the blacks and whites and neon flashes of colour. The ponderous moody danger of his clouds against the sudden destructive power of his explosions.
Whelan has also suggested at an identifiable horizon line in some of his new works. It translates his cloudscapes into something approaching a landscape yet still manages to keep them feeling fleeting and evanescent. Removing the clouds from his black voids and bringing them back to earth only serves to emphasize their volatility.
A solid earth but an ephemeral sky.
‘Pressure’ London, March 2019
Words by Gemma Murray.
One of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, Whelan totally reinvents the landscape genre with his futuristic, vibrant and oh-so-cool skyscapes. It seems apt that these sublime and wandering cloud scenes should be originated in Australia with its endless horizons and vast open skies, although Whelan imagines his sky scenes, plucking storms and swirling clouds from his minds eye. Having collaborated with some of the worlds biggest brands, such as Adidas, Samsung and Universal Records, Whelan is no small fish. His masterful depictions retain all the grace and lightness of real skyscapes, but it is the inherent masculinity and electricity that Whelan imbues his pieces with that sets them apart from other contemporary works.
‘Strike Now, Riot Later’ Sydney, July 2018
Words by Jonathan Dalton.
Echoes of Brooklyn Whelan’s earlier incarnation as a graffiti artist can be found in his new solo show, Strike Now Riot Later. He demonstrates an understanding of the structural flow and sweeping rhythm of popular culture as, in some works, the clouds float from one canvas to the next. A delicate balance between urban scrawl and gallery, the paintings drift along an ephemeral line between abstract and real, gestural mark making and meticulous rendering, stylistic boldness and nuanced composition.
But under all of that, there is a hint of something more. Pareidolia – that instinct we have to see significant forms where none exist – kicks in. A hidden message emerges and shapes appear before fading back into the cloudscape.
These are works of a reduced palette, but containing unexpected flashes of colour – they’re so thoughtfully considered that there is both a richness and a subtlety to them, a sense of both instinctual harmony and muted beauty.
2019 Terra Nimbus, China Heights Gallery, Sydney AUS
2019 Pressure, Nelly Duff Gallery, London LDN
2018 Strike Now, Riot Later, China Heights Gallery, Sydney AUS
2018 Zero Three, Video mapping installation, Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay AUS
2018 Self Titled, The Slow, Canggu, Bali IND
2017 Cloud Runner, Samsung VR installation, Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay AUS
2017 Pushing Past, China Heights Gallery, Sydney AUS
2016 New Works, Chin Chin Art Series, Melbourne AUS
2014 Fantastic Damage, China Heights,. Sydney AUS
2018 A Better View, ABV Gallery, Atlanta USA
2017 A Better View, ABV Gallery, Atlanta USA
2016 Asian Contemporary Art Fair, Hong Kong HK
2015 Heavy Weather, China Heights, Sydney AUS
2015 Eleven, Sun Studios, Sydney AUS
2013 Vanishing Elephant showcase, Sydney AUS
2012 Black and White and All In Between, Ambush Gallery, Sydney AUS
2011 A Type Of, Kind Of Gallery, Sydney AUS
2010 The Whiskey Gallery, Sydney AUS
2008 Sydney Art Esquisse, Sydney AUS
2007 Across the Board, Sydney AUS
2006 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Sydney AUS