MARK BROWN: ARTIST STATEMENT
The new work I have chosen to exhibit in Unscripted consists of collages constructed of cut paper painted with acrylic polymer, and oil paintings on wooden panels. The impetus for this ongoing series originated in a 2004 walk in snowy woods near my studio, where I observed leafless trees against a gray winter sky. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise, which suggested a musical analogue for the atmosphere my series embodies. In 2011 I began to use the Roman arch as a thematic ‘armature’ for my current applications.
It would be expedient but inaccurate to define my work in Unscripted with what it is not: not political, not provisional, not academic, etc. I can describe it as rigorous, unwavering and hard-won. What it is for me, in process and essence, is necessary.
The bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. –Chinese proverb
MARK BROWN: BIOGRAPHY
Recognized by elementary school teachers for my artistic abilities, I received no art training until my high school years which were spent largely in Kentucky pool rooms. After a career as a photographer by which I successfully combined income and image-making, I began painting at night while teaching photography at Kentucky State University. I moved to North Carolina, became studio assistant to Herb Jackson at Davidson College, and was accepted into the graduate art program at UNC-Chapel Hill, then chaired by painter and former Artforum editor Peter Plagens. After working my way through graduate school by unloading tractor trailers, as a day laborer and with teaching assistantships, I rented studio space in an abandoned gas station and painted at night while supporting myself as a house painter. Diagnosed late with moderate dyslexia, my right-brain proclivities finally made sense to me.My wife artist Cathy Kiffney and I work full-time in our own studios outside Chapel Hill, NC.
My painting Winterreise 18 won the grand prize in the 2006 North Carolina Artists Exhibition, juried by Alison De Lima Greene, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In 2007 images from the Winter series were projected as a theatrical backdrop for a performance of Winterreise at Wichita State University. Solo exhibitions of the series have been shown at the National Humanities Center, 5ive and 40rty Gallery in Winston-Salem, NC, and Somerhill Gallery. Exhibitions in North Carolina also include the North Carolina Museum of Art, Ackland Art Museum, Duke Museum of Art, DukeInstitute for the Arts, Davidson College Gallery of Art, Green Hill Center, Southeast Center for Contemporary Art, Durham Arts Council, Marita Gilliam Gallery, and Lee Hansley Gallery. I have exhibited in New York City at The Painting Center and E S Vandam Gallery, and in Philadelphia at Gallery Siano.
I was a finalist for a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and received grants and scholarships from UNC-Chapel Hill, the Durham NC Arts Council, Kent State University and the Vermont Studio Center. I was the featured interview at geoform.net, ‘an online scholarly resource, curatorial project, and international forum whose focus is the use of geometric form and structure in contemporary abstract art.’ My most recent solo exhibition was in 2010 at Flanders Gallery in Raleigh, NC. Upcoming exhibitions include the invitational five-person Independents at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro, NC in April 2013 and a solo exhibition at Gallery 1 at Artspace in Raleigh, NC in September 2014.
Public and corporate collections include Bernhardt Industries, Lenoir, NC; NITROX, Durham, NC (commission); Glencore Ltd., Stamford, CT; SEER Technologies, Cary, NC; Medco Research, Cary, NC; Sidley, Austin, New York, NY; and the Neiman Marcus permanent collection, (2 commissions).