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Brendan McCumstie (1973) was born in Condobolin, rural NSW, AUSTRALIA and currently lives and works in Beijing. Self taught as an artist with a formal background in sports, medicine and psychology.

Predominantly interested in the boundaries between objects (where does one become another), his works explore universal themes reflecting the contemporary obsession with nostalgia while creating complex symbols of a culture refusing to look inward on a society eating itself. 

Working with various mediums including graphic arts, painting, video, sculptural objects and installation, the various artworks use technological procedures and elements from tradition and history to question the tenets of globalization, virtual memory and hegemonic thinking.

All great stories are complex and full of drama. Life itself is a story… but not until it is edited; and memory, like editing, is about finding moments; from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the time we go to sleep at night we edit the individual images we see.


Sometimes it’s pleasurable, sometimes it is confrontational and sometimes logic is less important than emotion.


Through my drawings, collages, paintings and installations I attempt to present simple images soaked in complex meaning. The results are part metaphor, part allegory, part dream/vision and part truth.


Based on personal recollections my explorations give birth to issues that straddle the boundaries of science, art and the realities of concrete life.

I try to bring my images to aesthetic life without losing a sense of humour and attempt to create dialogue with the viewer utilising universal formal vocabularies and traditional media - in direct conflict with the employed techniques by much of the current vanguard of contemporary art – I still believe in the sanctity of skilled technique.


I try to reconstruct a history beyond both the western canon and formal culture of remembrance. What emerges from the resulting palimpsest-like arrangements are not so much a recounting of events of memory, nor are they an examination of (dreamed) possibilities; but more distinctly, something undefined and intermediate between the two - the tertium quid; the third thing that explodes into being from the joining of two other unrelated things. This focus leads to the creation of a visual vocabulary that is not only functional, but jointly poetic and narrative.

Selected Solo Shows:

2020       Ink blot tests                                                              798 art district, Beijing, CHINA

2019         blue moon                                                                 JITU, 798 Art District, Beijing, CHINA

2017         AT (IN) ON                                                              Apartment Gallery, Beijing, CHINA

2014         Me, My, Myth                                                          Escape Space, Beijing, CHINA

2013         Spontaneous Human Compulsion                        Forecourt, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FRANCE

                  Canal Knowledge                                                      Public Art, Amsterdam, NEDERLANDS

2011          The tertium quid: case study                                  Tweed River Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   Irony and Edits                                                         Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA    

2010         Hold Your Tongue                                                   Tamworth Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

2009        Displacement Method                                            Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

2008        Who Rights History                                                 Artisan Ivory 24 Gallery, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

2007         Rubbish (3 week installation)                                 National Art Gallery of Australia, AUSTRALIA    

                   Bag full of mixed goodies                                        Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

2006        Memory holds a claim to truth                              Dubbo Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

2005        PHI                                                                             Warpstanza Gallery, Bathurst, AUSTRALIA

2004       Con.Text                                                                     BAWD Exhibition Space, Dubbo, AUSTRALIA



Selected Group Shows:

2021         Conquers                                                               "Haas", Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

2020        “-ing” Art and Design                                             Today Art Museum, Beijing, CHINA

2019          Shining Dimensions                                                Aotu Space, Beijing, CHINA

                    Happening International                                       Gobi Desert Heaven, INNER MONGOLIA

                    Not Yet. Not Yet                                                   Poly Art Museum, Beijing, CHINA

                    Stellardemia                                                            International Exhibition Centre, Beijing, CHINA

                   International Arts Festival                                     Chengdu Flower Fields, Chengdu, CHINA

2018          21 Dreams                                                                Shaire Space, 798 Art District, Beijing, CHINA

2016          New Media Digital                                                  Naissance, Xaanxi, CHINA

2013          Avant Derniers Edition de Fattes Le Mur          Bric a Brac Bar, Paris, FRANCE                              

2012          The QR Project (the eight collective)                 Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   BSG Works on Paper                                             Brunswick St Gallery, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

                   The Sketchbook Project                                        Brooklyn, NYC & National Gallery of Victoria.

                                                                                                      Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

2011           Footsteps Print show                                             IMPACT 7, International Print Conference,                                                                                                                              Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

                   HEREsay                                                                  Southern Cross University, NEXT Gallery,                                                                                                                                Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                   Littlest Print (international juried)                        Portland, USA

                   Objects of the Dead                                               Napier Gallery, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

                   Northern Rivers Portrait Prize                              Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   FAXINATION                                                         XYZ Collective, Tokyo, JAPAN

                   International Art Trading Card Project               Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   Autumn Extravaganza                                            Arts Centre, Nimbin, AUSTRALIA

                   Trans-Siberian Arts Centre Invitational              Moscow, RUSSIA; Beijing, CHINA

                   The Sketchbook Project                                        Brooklyn, San Francisco, Washington, USA

                   The Hankie Project II                                             Grafton Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

2010         Border Art Prize                                                      Tweed Heads Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   Cut & Paste                                                             Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, AUSTRALIA

                   International Art Trading Card Project (ITC2)  Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, AUSTRALIA

                   TATA GALA                                                            Sarasota Design Centre, Florida, USA

                   Goldworthys; “Ooh that sounds a bit fancy”     Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   A Paper Trail                                                            Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                   On Paper, in time, in other peoples minds         Art Piece Gallery, Mullumbimby, AUSTRALIA

                   International Art Trading Card Project               Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, AUSTRALIA

                   Scarlet                                                                       Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                    The Hankie Project                                                Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, AUSTRALIA

                   The Churchie National Emerging Art                 Qld College of Art, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

                    Articles of Interest (invitational)                         Southern Cross University, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                   Scissors, Paper, Glue                                             Wayward Gallery, Byron Bay, AUSTRALIA

2009        SCU Acquisitive Artists Book Award                  Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, AUSTRALIA

                   Collectors Paradise                                                 Community Gallery, Ballina, AUSTRALIA

                   Winsome art show                                                  Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                   The Toy Show                                                           Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

2008        Eutick Memorial Still Life Award                          Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   It is Political                                                              Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

                   Queensland Festival of Photography                  Qld Centre of Photography, Brisbane, AUST.

2007         SCU Acquisitive Artists Book Award                  Southern Cross University, NEXT Gallery, AUST.

                    Autumn Extravaganza                                           Arts Centre, Nimbin, AUSTRALIA

                   First Group                                                              Alleyway Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

2006         Art in the age of Sedition                                      Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, AUSTRALIA

                   Sedition on the Streets                                          National Capital Circle, Canberra, AUSTRALIA

                   Inaugural Members Show                                      Serpentine Gallery, Lismore, AUSTRALIA

2005        The Prize                                                                   Downing Centre Gallery, Sydney, AUSTRALIA

                   The TAFE Awards Traveling Exhibition               NSW Regional Galleries, AUSTRALIA

                   Fresh Arts Invitational only Exhibition                 Dubbo Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

                   Hand. Eye (with Spencer Calveley)                     Warpstanza Gallery, Bathurst, AUSTRALIA

Selected Awards, workshops and community projects:

2020        Pinhole photography                                               Fotografia, Tbilisi, GEORGIA

2019          Live Art Battle, Northern China Final                 Winner

2012          BSG Works on Paper Prize                                   Selected Finalist

                   En-Dangered Art Auction Fundraiser                Friends of the Koala, Lismore, AUSTRALIA           

2011           Northern Rivers Portrait Prize                             Selected Finalist

2010         The Churchie National Emerging Art Award     Selected Finalist (3 works)

                   Border Art Prize                                                      Selected finalist

                   TATA GALA (international Juried Prize)            Highly Commended

2008        Eutick Memorial Still Life Award                          Selected Finalist

2005        Art Gallery of NSW                                                Robert Le Gay Brereton Award (2nd Place)

2004        TAFE Art Prize                                                        Best Regional Artist Award

Selected Articles/Publications:

2019          “Apophenia” Artists Catalogue. Edited and published by Brendan McCumstie.

                    “MX” Artists journal. Published by Brendan McCumstie..

2018          CUE magazine, contributor and artistic editor

                   “Irony and Edit”, artists book, edited and published Brendan McCumstie

2014          Drunken Boat, #19, online art/writing journal.

2013          Bird-Flew, edition 1, edited and published Brendan McCumstie

2010          Art Monthly Australia, pp54-55, May (#229)

                   Exhibition Catalogue, Hold Your Tongue, Essay by Kezia Geddes

2009        Anderson, Dr Jane. No More Potlucks (France), Colonialism/Intellectual property,

                                                       Copie No.4, Jun

2007         Northern Rivers Echo, Art and Sedition, Nov 12

2005        Orana Arts, Review, July

2004        Exhibition Catalogue, Art. Full Stop, April Essay by Kent Buchanan

                   Art and Australia, Fresh Blood, Jul-Oct pp82 Review by Julia Jones

                   Art Monthly Australia, Review, Oct (#174)



Curatorial Experience:

2018          21 Deams                                                                 Shaire Space, 798 Art District, Beijing, CHINA

2012          The QR Project (the eight collective)                Lismore Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA



Residencies and teaching experience:

2020        Kompostyaard residency (6 weeks)                     Stellenbosch, SOUTH AFRICA

2020        Fotografia Studio (3 months)                              Tbilisi, GEORGIA

2019          Ruddy Metal Studios (2 months)                        Beijing, CHINA

2013          Lecture Series (4 weeks) ~ Art at the edges     Paris, FRANCE

2012          Chiang Mai Art on Paper Studios (3 weeks)     Chiang Mai, THAILAND

2006        Printmaking Workshop (1 week)                           Dubbo Regional Gallery, AUSTRALIA

Professional Memberships:

2011           Founder                                                                    The Eight Collective

2008-10  Member                                                                    National Association of Visual Artists

2004-5    Founding Member and Vice President               Fresh Arts Contemporary Artists Group Inc.


                   National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (Print Collection).

                   Tamworth Regional Gallery.

                   Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.

                   Private collections in Australia, France, Canada, USA and

                   China including collection of Wang Zhongjun.

Contact Me

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