The virtual exhibition programme provides a space for artists to engage with a broad spectrum of socio-political issues in a concise and focussed way. As a completely accessible viewing experience, Platform is open to all and presented to a truly global audience. To align with the core social principles of the programme, 10% of all sales proceeds from every Platform exhibition will be donated to a charity nominated by the artist. For her solo exhibition, Brown has nominated the charity, Still Waters in a Storm. As a one room schoolhouse in Brooklyn, it acts as a space of education for children aged 5 to 17 where they can learn to read, write and listen to one another.
Deborah Brown has found this past year to be a time of significant social isolation. For her, as an artist, this year has not necessarily signalled a change in circumstances or working routine, as Brown normally works alone in her Brooklyn studio in East Williamsburg. However, the events of the last year have meant a notable change in Brown’s subject matter. The artist’s Platform exhibition exemplifies this change as Brown turns to her immediate surroundings, her pets, her environment, her belongings and her own image for inspiration. Brown’s exhibition can therefore be considered a celebration of the private space, the immense privilege it affords and the influence it can have on the creative process.
Brown’s artworks frequently originate from true autobiographical moments, giving them an intimately personal significance. The objects depicted within her works can be seen as characters themselves as they reflect the personality of their owner and act as entryways into the artist’s own mental space. However, despite their roots in reality, the environments that Brown represents are both specific to her and enduringly universal. Her works carry an autobiographical significance while continuing to be open to the viewer’s own interpretation. Brown’s brushwork equally evades any kind of specificity. Her brushstroke is fluid and loose, reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism, giving the works an extraordinary sense of movement and bringing even inanimate objects to life. Forms are never distinctively defined, particularly Brown’s images of shadows, often avoiding our absolute recognition. The brushstroke therefore adds an overarching sense of mystery to the paintings as reality is never precisely imitated.
Brown’s paintings equally find power in drawing upon the vast tradition of portraiture within Western art, particularly the depiction of the female nude. Brown cites the French artist, Pierre Bonnard, as a particular inspiration for her largescale bathtub paintings. However, Brown’s works are perhaps more subtle in their renderings, transforming the motif of the female nude from frequently voyeuristic depictions into refined evocations of independence.
Scroll down to watch Deborah Brown talk more about her Platform artworks from her Brooklyn-based studio.