The Connor Brothers at The Maddox Gallery
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
The Connor Brothers are fictional characters who work beyond the canvas, blending truth and artifice to delight and disorientate their audience in equal measure. Each interaction with their work toys with emotion, reality, and the need for distraction.
'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible'. The Connor Brothers defy analysis and expectation, simply because they intend to. Their art was born from a desire to make each other laugh and discuss their feelings within a culture where admission alone can be taboo. Through their work and activism, they encourage viewers to laugh, ridicule, or open up about how they perceive the world around them.
The pair broke into the art world as Franklyn and Brendan Connor, escapees from a Christian cult that cut them off from modern society as children. After fleeing at the age of 16 they were bombarded with new images and experiences that they struggled to understand. Straining to create order, they processed the new world through sketchbooks that would eventually blossom into a series of paintings. These pieces would in turn be sold at auction houses and galleries around the world.
Their success eventually turned the story into a hindrance, so they revealed themselves but kept the name. Although their identities have been divulged, the fictitious biography is still on their website, alongside art that they develop together as a form of therapy.
While the duo are best known for their Pulp Fiction series - a variety of Mills and Boon inspired characters quoting Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, and George Bernard Shaw - the pair are not afraid to engage with genuine hardship. After working at The Jungle refugee camp to build shelters they launched the Refuchic billboard campaign, which held a mirror up to comfortable westerners and forced them to reconsider how they looked at refugees. The artists then put on a refugee themed performance at Banksy's Dismaland, and work to raise funds for mental health charity, CALM.
"Artifice is often the best way to depict reality, fiction the best way to challenge conventional ideas of what we think of as 'the truth'. Most people are happy to think 'this is the way it is'. But it really isn't. Who knows the truth of anything?"
The Maddox Gallery / The Connor Brothers