A Message from Planet Zonked

August 08 - September 19, 2009

Mark Braunias


Mark Braunias has been busy in his notebook. He has always drawn fluidly and quick, with almost diaristic intent. What surprises here are his typewritten texts. Like droll visual twitter, these pagenotes resonate with (in)significance. And they make you chuckle.....

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With an immediacy and effortlessness that belie their cleverness, the profusion of works that make up A Message from Planet Zonked proffer witty, satirical observations on science, society and life in all its diversity. And quirky indeed are these observations. If the exhibition title really does come from afar, there is nonetheless a familiar, even local flavour to the insights that echo around the gallery walls. Aliens, to be sure, do converse in a number of the drawings, but so too do cats, cows, caterpillars, camels and an extraordinary array of creatures great and small, each articulating opinions and comments from a very personal perspective. They are, as Christopher Moore writes in an article entitled Top Drawer, GO Arts, The Press, August 28, 2009, "…characters caught in the headlights like possums on a night road."
untitled drawing20And these works are funny, hilarious in fact, with the occasional vulnerable poignancy thrusting its head above the surface. Little escapes the amusement of Braunias, from the 'so far out of left field' Johnny Rotten's piano-playing grandmother, to the rather wicked digs at art critics and the NZ art establishment itself.

Braunias, who believes drawing to be essential to the human spirit, describes the ideas for this current body of works as a stream of consciousness, going off at different tangents but linked by the drawing style and messages. He sees the beauty of drawings as allowing a conversation between the viewer and the artist. By putting his characters behind a 1970's Brother typewriter, Braunias lets them talk to the audience, mistakes, twink and all. The directness and the mechanical aspects of the typewritten text have just the right visual weight and wonkiness to express the intimate, human quality of these works.

Vicki Piper


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Selected works

Golden Home

Golden Home (detail)

study for golden home I

study for golden home III

study for golden home II

Periodic Table (detail)

Details of works:

Golden Home
acrylic and inks on canvas
1500 x 2100mm

mixed media on board
1000 x 700mm

Table of Periodic Elements (Zonked)
mixed media on paper
2920 x 3780mm approx

A message from Planet Zonked
Mixed media on paper
the framed drawings within this work are sold individually
Studies for Golden Home I - III
acrylic and ink on board
320 x 220mm