Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birds: Memory and Material Recent work by Melanie P. Brown

Birds: Memory and Material

I am very pleased to be showing at Chicago Matrix Gallery in the Zhou B. Center. The opening is this Friday May 21st from 7pm-10pm. The entire building will be open with art everywhere, so not only do you get to see me, you get to see the work of many other talented artists on all 4 floors. It is located at 1029 W. 35th St. in Chicago not far from the Sox stadium and red line stop. The gallery is on the 3rd floor.

I am feeling pretty good about myself for making all my own frames (don't look too close, but I dare say the ones I made over the last 2 weeks are far superior than the ones made in January. I am improving!) I know that I could do something besides home made frames, but I just want the entire thing to be made by my hands- my paintings are things, not just images.

Phineas came along today as I loaded and unloaded paintings- he slept the entire time we were at the gallery. He will be at the opening, and I'm sure Mr. Night Owl will be excited and silly. So if you'd like to see my little studio muse, he will be in attendance. He has to be- most of the paintings were at least partially painted with him sitting in my lap and/or giving me directions. "Mommy make Goopy!" "Mommy mix purple now. Now use little dark blue" He's the bossiest studio mate I've ever had, but that's what I get for rooming with a 2 year old.

My talented photographer friend, Kat Ramsland, took wonderful photos of all the work in the show. If you can't make it, or just want a preview, here are some of the pieces included in Friday's show. I'll include my artist statement for the show below all the images. Enjoy and I do hope to see you there!

(Click here to see the full catalog of images on my photobucket account.)

Bird Series- Artist Statement

The recent work was inspired not by dreams, but by an actual event I witnessed while walking my dog. I looked up and there were crows gathering on the roof of a house. I was curious, so I kept watching and saw a drama unfold. There was a nest of baby robins under the gutter of the house and the crows eventually swooped in and flew off with one of the babies and promptly began pecking it to death and eating it. The mother robin was on a rooftop just helplessly watching and the babies thought they were getting fed. I kept seeing their little mouths open as they stretched up toward their predators. It was horrible to witness, and I had to make some drawings about how much I hate crows. (I’ve been attacked and chased by a crow for about quarter of a mile in the past, so we have a history.) The amazing thing, though, is that I seemed to be the only witness of this drama even though there were a number of commuters walking home from the metra. I’ve always been aware that there are hidden worlds with epic dramas occurring right under our noses — plants strangling other plants, fights to the death among insects, even just fruit ripening and going bad, or metal rusting. There are stories all around us and I try to be open to them.

I always try to keep my imagery so personal that it is open for interpretation. By keeping my imagery limited to the bare bones of my memory, the work can resonate with the viewer on a deeper level than if I were to spell it all out in a traditional narrative.

-Melanie P. Brown 2010