Also in this section…?

'Special Relativity', Julian Brain

Painting of a living room with large porcelain dogs either side of a fireplace

Oil on linen, 72.5 x 83 cm, 2000-07

Artist's statement

'Special Relativity' is set in the rearranged front room of my adoptive family home. Each of the enlarged objects in the room is related to, and represents, a member of that family: the clock stands for my father, and he is flanked by the china dogs representing his mother, my grandmother. The ball of wool, cotton
reels and crochet needle stand for my mother; her parents, my grandparents, are represented by the letter-rack on the left of the fireplace, made by her father, and the embroidery of Sailsbury Cathedral on the wall above, sewn by her mother.

The painting-within-the-painting, showing the same room with everything back in the right place, is an attempt to suggest the fractured self-awareness that having differing biological and sociological identities can create. The empty picture frame on the right represents my unknown genetic family, significant in their absence; it was from my biological father, a sign-writer and coach-painter, that I inherited the dexterity to paint this picture.


Julian Brain was born in the Forest of Dean on the
shortest day of 1958. He is an entirely self-taught artist and is currently based in Gloucester. He was an exhibitor in the 'Celeste Art Prize 2007' finalists’ exhibition at Old Truman Brewery London (touring to Edinburgh) and exhibited in the 'Summer Exhibition' at the Royal Academy London in 2007 and 2008.

Related links