Deborah Brown Open Studio 2015

Bushwick Open Studios weekend:

June 5, 5-9pm
June 6, noon-9pm + reception, 6 – 9pm
June 7, noon-6pm

Like many artists, Deborah Brown is a student of art history and literature.  Her paintings are inspired by the tradition of formal portraiture and history painting and examine the costumes, coiffures and conventions of self-presentation inherent in these genres.  The work directly references Renaissance, Classical and Baroque artworks and French and British painting from the 18th and 19th centuries.  The work also reflects the influence of Cubism, the court portraits of Velázquez, Goya, and David; the work of Picasso from the 30s and 40s; and fetish and tribal objects from Africa and Oceania.

The artist subjects the canvases to a totalizing network of scribbling lines and layers of color from which the painted images emerge. Parts of the works are characterized by a tangle of brushwork verging on abstraction. The images appear electrically charged by a contemporary sensibility in which the original hierarchies no longer apply.  Faces appear distorted or obliterated.  Patterns on garments and headgear overwhelm their wearers.  The effect is a reexamination of the original referent and its tradition, creating new connections within the work while simultaneously evoking a memento mori to something past.


About the artist

Deborah Brown received a B.A. in art from Yale, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.F.A. from Indiana University. Since 1982 she has lived and worked in New York, where she is represented by  Lesley Heller Workspace. She had had solo shows at galleries and museums around the country. Her public art projects include mosaics commissioned by the MTA for the Houston Street subway station in Manhattan and roundels for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal at the Port of Miami for Miami-Dade Art in Public Places. In addition to her practice as an artist, she owns and directs the gallery Storefront Ten Eyck in Brooklyn, and serves on the advisory board of NURTUREart, the artist advisory board of BRIC and Community Board #4 in Bushwick.

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