Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Joan Brown, the next exhibition in his galleries at 1062 North Orange Grove and 7818 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. The exhibition includes ten paintings and one sculpture made between 1972 and 1983.
Joan Brown (1938–1990) is known for her large-scale, boldly-colored figurative paintings whose subject matter comes from her personal experiences. Family, friends, and pets appear frequently in her work, alongside scenes from real and imaginary travels. Brown explored the essential yet bewildering aspects of life. “I paint the human condition,” she said, “things we all experience, or think about, or dream about, or hope for.” Brown’s affinity for working at a larger-than-life-size scale furthered this goal: “I paint the size I do because I feel like a participant, like I can step into the pictures.”
Self-portraits are a key part of Brown’s work and several of the paintings in the exhibition present variations on the artist’s likeness contextualized by references to art history and ancient cultures. The Last Day of Summer (1976) shows the artist sharing a glass of champagne with Michelangelo’s David. Year of the Tiger (1983) depicts the artist in her painting clothes between two black cats with astrological symbols floating behind them across a large blue field, and in an earlier exploration of her own body, Parts of a Woman (1972) portrays the artist in a multi-panel painting inspired by Magritte’s The Eternally Obvious (1930). The otherworldly scenes in Brown’s paintings present a kaleidoscopic view of her life. In the artist’s own words: “Images are really just vehicles for me to express all the things I’m in awe of.”
Joan Brown was born in San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area her entire life. Her paintings were included in the 1964 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh and the 1972 and 1977 Whitney Biennials in New York. Her work was the subject of one-person exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1971 and the Berkeley Art Museum in 1974 and again in 1998. In 2022 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art organized the most substantial exhibition of Brown’s work since her untimely death in 1990. This exhibition will be on view at the Orange County Museum of Art from January 26 to June 2, 2024.
Joan Brown is on view at 1062 North Orange Grove and 7818 Santa Monica Boulevard from January 27 through April 6, 2024, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.