'Michael Brown: Sotto Voce' new paintings on view at Marc Straus

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'Michael Brown: Sotto Voce' new paintings on view at Marc Straus
Michael Brown, Untitled (May 30, 2023), 2023. Oil on panel; 12 x 12 x 0.75 in (30.5 x 30.5 x 2 cm).



POUGHKEEPSIE, NY.- Marc Straus is hosting the artist’s fourth solo exhibition, 'Recent Works', with the gallery.

Brown (b. 1982, , NY), who was originally trained as a sculptor, became well-known at a very young age for his stainless steel welded ‘cracked mirrors’ and a series of works made with melted vinyl discs. More recently, Brown has turned to highly sculptural paintings, working with gold leaf and oil paint. Now he takes on painting at a smaller scale – 12 x 12-inch square canvases where his soft, pastel driven color palette takes a sharp inward turn.

These intimate, quieter works hark back to paintings by Agnes Martin, Giorgio Morandi, Etel Adnan, Miyo- ko Ito, to Shaker drawings and the transcendentalist movement.

Brown has opted for both a limited color palette and reduced forms. His use of soft, predominantly warm hues such as amber, ochre, sun-yellow and mut- ed burnt-orange creates works that compel further study. They are meditative, almost devotional looking objects.

“I really embrace their domestic scale; I think import- ant things can be found in small gestures.” – says Brown of the new paintings.

Michael Brown began as a sculptor, a history that is still evident in his work. Known for his “gold-leaf” oil paintings, he continues to extend his artistic vocabulary.

Brown’s gold-leaf paintings possess a sculptural quality that he achieves with heavy threads of oil paint woven onto 24k gold leaf on canvas. The oil paint radiates from the center with a centrifugal force. The uneven cords of oil are partly an homage to Agnes Martin’s early paintings with horizontal pencil marks. These paintings by Brown emerged from his history of sculpting banal objects out of incongruous materials. He called attention to the quiet beauty of forms and materials in his reimagining of buckets and cracked mirrors. The palette of his distinctive impasto paintings is reduced to a few reoccurring colors, mostly a deep blue, a soft white, and occasionally a cadmium red. The gold base dispenses an intangible radiance and glow.

Michael Brown lives and works in rural upstate New York. At age twenty he was included in a seminal museum exhibit of 12 US graduate students at Hudson Valley MOCA, Peekskill and quickly inducted into the forefront of the contemporary art scene with exhibitions at David Zwirner, Zwirner and Wirth, and with representation at Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris and New York. In May 2018 he was included in the first Westchester Art Triennial. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, Time Out New York, and is in prominent collections around the world including the Beth de Woody Rudin Collection; The Hudson Val- ley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY; the Rennie Collection in Vancouver, Canada; the Sagamore Hotel Collection, Miami Beach, FL; and the collection of Sherry and Joel Mallin in New York.

Marc Straus
Michael Brown: Recent Works
September 10th, 2023 – October 29th, 2023










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