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My work is in involved in the exploration of the world beyond the veil of perceived reality. I am continually looking at religious imagery, with the often emotive representations of the spiritual. The sentiment and the sincerity I have not wanted to divorce. I have examined this with the personal element of struggle and doubt, which are part of the human existence and have anchored it within a contemporary context.
The unfolding moments are revelations that come when involved in a work, the mysteries often going beyond the artist’s intent. Christian mysticism often speaks of the veil between this world and the next.
As a painter, I am slicing through this fabrication of layers to expose the reality, and the presence.

Brett a’Court -2013


a'Court has been a full time painter for some 20 years.

Brett's "burger flipping" has taken the form of handmade ceramics featuring motif's from his earlier painted work. Brett no longer engages in ceramics on a meaningful basis devoting himself entirely to his painted work.

a'Court's very successful inaugural one-person show was held in 2002 at Letham Gallery in Auckland. His work of that period was enthusiastically collected and is now rarely available.

a'Court's work to 2004 Lingua Sacra, (sacred language) transitioned significantly to a more serious exploration of the world "beyond the veil" of perceived every day reality. Intensely New Zealand in his darkness of palette, Brett has broken away from his strong Colin MacCahon influence to find his own voice. His palette has moments of colour exploding out from dark, or offering, in subtle tone upon tone, a rare and therefore most meaningful place of rest and repose. Brett's form tends toward the symmetric in his division of the canvas, frequently with squared off passages on a large work able to stand alone, almost as a work within the work, yet well integrated in the whole by dramatic use of line and slashing washes of colour.

a'Court's line drawings are frequently stunning in their simplicity and their power. The viewer returns frequently to the turned away head, the almost smile, the innocence of nakedness, the not so innocent questions asked of the motifs, the mood of the colour washes and the exposure of the inner organs, the "spiritual anatomy". Questions are raised, answers are not so clear. These are paintings to live with for a lifetime.

a'Court's work escapes characterization. Light bursts from dark, tranquillity nestles within chaos, sexuality conjoined with spirituality - all present and contributing to a truly unique voice in the current New Zealand artscape. Underlying this body of work lies intense and personal spiritual turmoil. An exploration informed by the traditions of the early Christian mystics "penetrating the veil" and the yoga chakra traditions of attempting to see with the third (inner) eye. Combined with explicit sexual, procreation and generation motifs a'Court delivers works that crash in on the senses and demand the viewer's engagement, participation and reaction.

In this work are canvases that immediately present as chaotic. They capture the eye and hold the observer rooted to the spot as the layers peel away, reform and resolve into ever changing explorations of spiritual engagement in the world. a'Court succeeds in the very difficult task of portraying the anguish of the spiritual search together with the fruit of that search, the places of stillness, acceptance and peace, even while the world around is in turmoil. These paintings affect viewers very differently. Some are immediately entranced, some repelled, some confused. None are indifferent. All views change as the observer spends time and becomes participant - these are hard canvases to walk away from. When you do, they demand your return. Some of these canvases are intensely challenging, some are intensely evocative and beautiful, many are both. They are the sort of canvas you build your home around rather than use to decorate the average lounge. They are sometimes works you will want to hide away from the illiterate, not for elitist reasons but for the sheer hard work of explaining. Yet the "illiterate" are also entranced and here is the magic of good, perhaps great art: all are engaged by it.

Brett was mentioned in an interesting article in SHE (NZ) magazine in July 2003 on investing in art,
"The dealers we spoke to listed contemporaries Ralph Hotere, Bill Hammond, Colin MacCahon, Tony Fomison, Peter Siddell and Raymond Ching as some of New Zealand's most recognised artists. Up-and-coming artists include John Pule, Shane Cotton, Peter Robinson, Seraphine Pick, Brett a'Court, Anna Hollings and Robyn Kahukiwa"

The Northern Advocate published an article by critic Chris Wilkie, who comments;
"So are these paintings resolved? Has the painter described the universe for us or him? Yes and no, but the battle continues. Restless he surges forward, the only answers being akin to oases, temporary rests on a pilgrimage. A' Court seems to desire this interstitial place, producing work which is powerful because paradoxically, it is frail and troubled. And if the painter has struggled almost in a vacuum with an element of pain, the results are now compelling and persuasive. The paintings have a sombre palette hearkening back to Masaccio, or to our own dark McCahon, who a' Court acknowledges freely. They seem to epitomise a quote from Picasso this young painter is fond of relaying, that "good work should bristle with razor blades". Magnificence is diluted when transmitted or forced. Brett a' Court's paintings touch on magnificence and it is inherent and there to see."

J Hodgson


Exhibition History
2002 “ Lectio Devina” Letham Gallery Auckland
2002-7 showing at Grantham gallery Auckland
2006 “ Lingua Sacra” solo show  Art-Artz Parnell Auckland
2008” Theology and Art” group show Salisbury house Dunedin
2008” Do not Fear” solo show Wallace Gallery Auckland
2008 Wallace Art award finalist show
2009 “Pathos” solo show Satellitte Gallery Auckland
2009 Joint show with Ewan mcDougall Thermostat Gallery Palmerston North
2010 “Crucifixion” Group show with David Sarich and Barry Squire ,Axelle Faux Hangar Gallery Whangarei
2010 Group show Village Arts Gallery, Kohukohu Hokianga
2011 “Credo and Quest” group show Whangarei Art Museum
2013 “Several Artists” Art-artz Group show with Alistair Nisbet -Smith,Geoff Tune, Allie Eagle, Shane Hammond, James Robinson, Jane Zusters, Simone Anderson,Chris Coffey..
2013 “Fabrications” group show  with Jeff Thompson, Wendy Grace Allen,Jessica Crothall, Elke Finkenauer and Allie Eagle,3rd space  Auckland.
2013 “Visions of reality “ solo show “Museum of the Vernacular Auckland
2013 “Grottos,Shrines and Sacred spaces” with Karl Maughan,J.K Russ,Siren Delux, Peter Ireland,The Boardroom Gallery(Thermostat} Palmerston North.
2015 "Exhibition of selected works from the collection".Whangarei art Museum Paintings and prints from Cliff Whiting,Ross T Smith, Brett a'Court,Ralph Hotere,Reuben Paterson, Don Driver, Warren Viscoe ,Charles Goldie and Pat Hanly.Ceramics and sculptures including Len castle and Richard Parker.
2015 "House of Cards" group show The Incubator
2015 "Flesh and Spirit" solo show, Pah Homestead,TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre

Collections and Awards
The Whangarei Art Museum collection
The James Wallace Arts Trust Collection
Art-Artz collection
2008 Wallace art award finalist
Whakatane National ceramics Finalist 2003