Mark Braunias

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1955


  • 1997
  • Charcoal on paper
  • Purchased 2002
  • Reproduced with permission
  • 2000 x 3500mm
  • 2002/260.a-j

Mark Braunias has applied a kind of speculative genetic engineering to the work of Walt Disney, Andy Warhol and the surrealist Jean Arp, resulting in giant, amoeba-like versions of comic-book characters that appear ready to spring to life. A master of reassemblage and reinvention, Braunias makes his ‘quick draw’ from a vast cache of popular cultural and historical sources, while applying a quiet dose of wry intent. (Op + Pop, 6 February – 19 June 2016)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • There is a genre of Japanese comic books with adult themes, called ‘Manga’ and the fluid black and white shapes in Mang suggest faces with exaggerated expressions that are typical of cartoon characters.

    Many of Braunias’ works contain a comic-book mix of emotions, suggested by the energetic, free-form imagery. The works suggest a sensual symbolism and have been compared to the ink-blots of the Rorschach test, said to reveal different types of personality through responses to random shapes. This biomorphic style has been a significant part of Braunias’ art since 1994 and has connections with the work of 20th century Surrealist artists such as Jean Arp (1887–1966).

    Born in Tauranga, Braunias studied at the University of Canterbury the School of Fine Arts. He has held solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand and has participated in several significant invited group exhibitions, including ‘A Very Peculiar Practice’, City Gallery, Wellington, 1995; ‘Gruesome!’, Robert McDougall Art Annex, 1999; and ‘Collector’s Choice’, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, 2000. (Label date unknown)