Contributed by Sharon Butler / Eric Brown, co-director of Tibor De Nagy Gallery, has been a secret painter for years, and this month he had his first NYC solo show at CRUSH Curatorial in Chelsea. We’ve shown together at Theodore:Art in Bushwick several times, and I’ve always loved his matte surfaces, rich color relationships, and endearingly hand-drawn geometric shapes. Here are some images for his solo show, as well as excerpts from John Zinsser’s fine exhibition essay.
“Brown’s small-scale and medium-scale works are all about possibilities. Each displays a record of generative and transformational visual logic.” Zinsser writes. “They are mostly limited to two or three colors in hard-edged interplay. Often, a chromatic hue—orange, green, blue—surrounds silhouetted black form. The internal shapes can read as biomorphic figures, bulbous, symmetrical, often placed off- center in a kind of precarious imbalance. Two very recent larger black-and-white works employ shaped stretcher bar configurations. Throughout, subtly-inflected layerings of oil paint result in densely optical areas of flat opaque color.”
Zinsser’s essay continues:
Painted freehand, there is always a tenderness of human engagement. Mischievous absurdist humor runs against more traditional absolutist readings. At times, Brown allows a singular moment of “narrative” awkwardness to assert itself as a work’s central subject. Here, it’s like an invitation for the viewer to actively enter into the “crisis mode” of a painting’s own moment of coming-into-being…
Viewers may initially bring their own lexicon of indexical sources: Ellsworth Kelly, Leon Polk Smith, Myron Stout. But the paintings resist such identification. They seem, in fact, adamantly non-appropriative. Instead, they arrive as “beings” among us—very much in the present.”