In his latest solo exhibition, Terra Nimbus, Brooklyn Whelan’s signature brooding cloudscapes remain, but he introduces a compelling new element with paintings of explosions, depicted using a volcanic colour palette.
There is logic to this development – while earthly explosions and slow moving clouds may, initially, appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, once silently captured in time and paint, they become curiously similar.
‘It’s all about that phase shift with them both,’ says Whelan. ‘The act of disintegration is also an act of regeneration.’
That juxtaposition of forces is in evidence throughout the show, as bold and loose brushwork is subtly enhanced with delicate highlights in oil paint, and soft pinks and greys sit alongside dramatic fiery tones. In terms of subject matter, the pure contrast between the cloudscapes and explosions acts to heighten the effect of each.
In some of his new works, Whelan plays with the minimal background to suggest a horizon line. This renders his cloudscapes into something approaching a landscape yet still manages to keep them feeling fleeting and transient. Removing his clouds from their customary void and bringing them down to earth only serves to emphasise their volatility.