The art of finding a remote place: Thomas Brezing

16 October - 7 November 2014

“It is Thomas Brezing’s insatiable curiosity - intellectually, spiritually and philosophically - and the remarkable generosity of will that he invests in his art and life that makes him such a considerable artist.”
Patrick Graham, September 2014


Thomas Brezing says that he works ‘against beauty’, believing that too much ‘beauty’ can be a dangerous thing. This drives him to push his paintings till they go ‘off-kilter’. He rotates them, sometimes using the upside down version in the final work. The brushstrokes are thick and there is vigour and a physicality to his method – often throwing paint at his canvasses – enabling chance elements to arise and defying accuracy.
His practice owes to a tradition we can trace back to German Expressionism and Neo-Expressionism’s concerns for the figurative and fantastical symbolism. He resonates too with fellow German contemporaries, such as Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter - the former with his mix of personal histories and politics, and, the latter, for his narrative, opulent scenes with their ghost-like presences. But Brezing finds his own distinctive path. The quest for identity, sharpened by self-chosen exile in Ireland, is for ‘something missing’,  ‘a certain homelessness’ underpinned by what Hugo Hamilton calls ‘the loneliness of being German’.
It is through such poetic sensibilities that Brezing comes to consider the world (and his place in it) through his art.  And, for Brezing, this world is made as the wolf trapper sees it in Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Crossing, as ‘something you cannot touch. You cannot hold it in your hand for it is made of breath only.’  Memory, experience and speculation combine in Brezing’s art to open multiple dimensions; many possibilities of reality within invisible borders of time, so that he might touch upon the something missing.

Extracted from 'That something missing', an essay on Brezing's work by Cliodhna Shaffrey


Thomas Brezing was born in Germany in 1969 and moved to Ireland in the 1990’s. He has had two solo exhibitions at The Molesworth Gallery in 2009 and 2012, and has shown at museums and arts centres such as The Irish Museum of Modern Art (group), The High Lanes in Drogheda, Draiocht in Dublin, the LAB in Dublin, and at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (all solo). He has also contributed to group exhibitions in Germany, Wales, England, Finland and Belgium.
Brezing was nominated for the AIB Prize in 2003 and 2010. He has also been the recipient of numerous Arts Council Awards. His work is included in the collections of the Office of Public Works, Mayo County Council, Dundalk District Council and the Boyle Civic Collection.