My work deals with fragmentation and unity and repetition and variation, and that's where printmaking really lives."
Brad Brown works predominantly on paper. In speaking about his working process, he has said, “I have heaps of drawings and they are underfoot and in the way, so they are being marked even when I’m not consciously working on them. Sometimes I use a drawing as a drop cloth or a palette for another, and sometimes my oil medium or something else drips or spills and stains a bunch of them. I want all aspects of the process to be visible, and walking around the studio and stepping on things is part of the process.” Brown culls poetic fragments from his drawings through folding, tearing, reassembling, and reworking them. Maria Porges wrote in Art in America in 2001 that “Brown’s drawings exude an air of poetic, random inspiration, that of someone looking with intensity at anything and everything. Brown draws primarily with charcoal, in a line simultaneously confident and dreamy. Though other materials, oil paint and ink, are used to add splotches of color, the compositions read as essentially black and white, dominated by the artist’s virtuosic mark-making.”
Brad Brown was born in 1964 in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1987 he received his BFA in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and shortly thereafter moved to Brooklyn, New York. He moved to San Francisco in 1989 and lived there until 2003. He had his first solo exhibition in 1994 in San Francisco at Southern Exposure. Reviewing that exhibition, Jamie Brunson, writing in Art Issues, spoke of “a visual experience that restores one’s belief in the transcendental possibilities of art,” and Kenneth Baker, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, said the works “display a poise and freedom that comes to most artists, if ever, only after long experience.”
Brown has done two projects in etching at Crown Point Press in 1999 and 2001. In the earlier project, he used dice to settle on whether to pour, paint, drip or blow the acid for each mark he made on a plate. Finally, he cut the plate into sixteen equal-sized pieces and asked the printers to assemble them randomly to produce a series of unique works rather than an edition. He has also worked extensively in lithography at Shark’s Ink in Colorado.
Brad Brown has been a Richard C. Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow at the San Francisco Art Institute and was awarded a residency at Arcus Project in Moriya, Japan. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Jundt Art Museum in Spokane, Washington. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; and the Boise Art Museum, Idaho. Brad Brown lives and works in New York City. He is represented by Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York.
—Dana Zullo, Crown Point Press
Brad Brown at Crown Point Press, 1999 (2 minutes)
Artist Brad Brown discusses printmaking at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, 1999.