Just as Anatsui’s ceramic career came as a bit of a surprise so did the involvement in this medium by painter Roger Brown. Maccarone has delighted us with Virtual Still Life, an exhibition of late works by Roger Brown (New York, June 12 – August 7, 2015). The exhibition was presented in collaboration with DC Moore Gallery, Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Chicago, and has been organized with Jay Gorney. The following is a statement from the gallery, supported with pictures from Contemporary Art Daily:
Born and raised in rural Alabama, Brown attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s and became closely associated with the Chicago Imagists. After working and living for decades in the Midwest, Brown established a home in La Conchita, California, where he would come to create his Virtual Still Life series, a cohesive body of 27 painting-and-object works, 11 of which were included in this exhibition.
Conceived in the mid-1990s, Maccorne explains that this series came to Brown as computer media was beginning to have a powerful influence on contemporary visual culture. Reacting to the then-current rage for virtual reality technology, Brown was perplexed by the idea that the virtual could be more compelling than real experience.
Although earlier in his career Brown had created paintings on found objects or with such objects attached, these pieces pair Brown’s distinctive patterned landscapes with an assortment of 20th century American ceramics. By placing his diminutive, (and dare we say, mediocre) vernacular thrift store handwares on shelves extending from the frames’ bottoms, Brown puts them in dialogue with the pictorial narrative contexts he created for them.
Thus, these works merge Brown’s lifelong painting practice with his domestic habit of collecting and arranging objects in personally resonant narrative formations. In this mixture of 2D and 3D elements, the viewer comes to see the objects as flat and the landscapes, which lack a single horizon line, as deep space. In these “virtual” still lifes, the real and the pictorial blur together, becoming reliquaries in celebration of real experience.
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