Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Process With Deborah Brown

In the 1950's Art News ran it's popular "Paints a Picture" feature. This fun and enlightening series showcased the innovative and important painters of the day (Hofmann, Mitchell, Tworkov, De Kooning, etc.) and chronicled the evolution of a single work by placing a camera in the artist's studio and having the painter snap a photo at crucial points during the development of the piece.

I thought it would be a great idea to continue the series, focusing on process oriented painters, showcasing the talent, hard work and the decision making that goes into each painting. 

In this series I will feature a different painter once or twice a month giving insight into their art making, thinking process, and personalities.

The first painter in our series is Deborah Brown.
Deborah is an accomplished painter who's works explore the industrial landscape of car salvage lots, scrap metal yards and fabrication shops in Bushwick, the neighborhood where she has worked since 2006. 
In 2012 Brown mounted a stunning show in Bushwick's The Active Space. She is represented in New York by Leslie Heller Workspace. In addition she also owns and directs Storefront Bushwick

The painting presented here is Slag, 2013, oil on canvas, 70 x 80 inches.

According to Brown: "(This is) a painting I worked on intensely for the last five months that went through a lot of changes."








Deborah Brown with her work at The Active Space last June.
photo credit: Joshua Bright, The New York Times

Artist's Statement:

My paintings reflect the industrial landscape of car salvage lots, scrap metal yards and fabrication shops in Bushwick, the neighborhood where I have worked since 2006. The paintings bear the traces of this subject matter--smashed cars, torqued debris and aggregated junk. After years of working from material that I actually observed, in the new work I leave the narrative space of objective reality in favor of abstraction and anthropomorphism. The paintings depict architectural and industrial structures in a futuristic world of garish colors and uncertain horizons. Unidentified forms lurch at precarious angles, recalling the construction cranes and sea-side amusement rides twisted by Super Storm Sandy or some other natural or man-made disaster. The paintings reference failed systems of architecture, manufacturing and human biology.  Some images like the “tetes” resemble human heads and the divided nature of identity.

While I am working, I often turn the paintings upside down and work on them from another vantage point, which provides me with a fresh perspective and subverts the choices I make habitually and uncritically. This was the case with “Slag,” which changed orientation, color and spatial organization many times.  I use vigorous additive and subtractive paint application to alter, conceal and reveal traces of the painting’s history.  What emerges is a hybrid of the mechanical and the organic—a metaphor for contemporary human reality.

- Deborah Brown


Jeffrey Collins said...

Paul. It's good to see you are revisiting this wonderful aspect of art culture. Congrats!

Christine Sauer said...

Really cool work and so interesting to see it's the transformation over time. Thank you for posting this.