Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is a self-portrait by Joan Brown, one of the second generation of Bay Area Figurative painters. I have a tattered magazine copy of this hanging near my easel; it's hard to tell here, but the eyes are very interesting - different colors.

I like her use of color, strong negative shapes, that sort of chopped off shoulder.

Why is this Green Bowl (1964) so appealing to me? Maybe it's the texture, the two shades of brown inside the bowl, the wandering edge of the bowl . . .it does seem to be a descendant of Cezanne's aesthetically, doesn't it? Has that same interest in things as objects to co
ntemplate rather than to use.

I think sometimes you can go nuts trying to search around for just the right subject, but Brown painted her family, household objects, and sometimes included symbols that held meaning for her. One more - obviously had a sense of humor. Take a look at this one called People and Eye Trees in the Park in Madrid (1961).

Sadly, she died at only 52 in an accident in India that happe
ned during the installation of one of her art pieces.


  1. I really like her work. If my calculations are correct you are almost the same age as this artist was when her career was cut short. Do be careful when installing your next show.

  2. You're right, I'm exactly the same age now. I will be sure to wear full body armor at all times. (It was kind of strange - apparently she was helping to install an obelisk in India when she was fatally injured.) I really like her work too. Will have to check in on Ruffles' blog. Maybe she has a Lady Gaga parody posted by now.

  3. I love that bowl painting so much. It is so surprising, in it's colour and texture. And, yes, contemplative, exploratory. Ordinary and simple in every way, the colour, the setting, the composition and yet surprising.