David Brayne’s birthday show at Victoria Art Gallery.

A new one-man exhibition by Somerset artist David Brayne at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery is set to celebrate his 60th birthday this year.

Although David Brayne shows often in London and is regularly featured in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the demands of his technique are such that he does not put together one-man exhibitions very often.

Four fisherwomen by David Brayne.
Four fisherwomen by David Brayne.

The new paintings on display in the Still Waters run… exhibition are sure to conjure up memories of last January’s floods. Although these directly affected the artist, his paintings address the milder weather conditions which are the norm on the Somerset Levels.

Brayne’s pictures belong within that English tradition of humanistic landscape made famous by such artists as Richard Eurich and Keith Vaughan. At the same time Brayne challenges conventional perceptions of watercolour through his use of rich textures and resonant shadows.

David Brayne has lived for many years within walking distance of the Somerset Levels. This flat, watery landscape, which echoes the wide sky and liminal expanses of his south Lincolnshire childhood, touches much of his work.

His landscapes, seascapes and quiet interiors are both remembered and imagined, distilled down to elemental shapes and colours. The still and timeless spaces he evokes are the settings for rowers, bathers and fishermen, as he explains: “I like the idea of placing an oar, fishing rod, or something similar in the hands of the figure, because this creates a lyrical gesture, which in turn will suggest movement and begin to form patterns and rhythms that run through the work.

River in the Morning by David Brayne
River in the Morning by David Brayne

“Moreover, if I include two or three figures there is at once an inferred relationship or narrative, although I prefer to leave the exact nature of this to the viewer’s imagination.”

David mixes his own paints from raw pigments, building layer upon layer of luminous glazes, sometimes working into the paint with pastels and occasionally using touches of silver or gold leaf. His artistic voice is one of quiet and subtle tenderness, whilst also embodying more formal elements which place the work within a very contemporary idiom.

This 60th birthday one-man show will be on view at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath from 29 November 2014 to 11 January 2015.


David Brayne was born in 1954 and studied at Nottingham School of Art, the Gloucestershire College of Art and Exeter University. Elected as a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 2001, he has exhibited widely and been awarded a number of prizes.