The fluid technology of paint is the most accurate and detailed way of describing the creative process as a slow flux.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Glenn Brown.
In Brown’s work, images come and go without ever becoming completely fixed. Although borrowing images is endemic to everything he does, it is but a first step. Brown then subjects these borrowings to a slow and intuitive process over many months, by which the subject and medium of each painting slowly morph (via resizing, manipulating, reversing, cropping, stretching, and distorting) and accumulate into replicant versions of their former selves. Interestingly, he describes the end of this process as “ceasing” rather than “finishing,” as if to suggest that the image, like life, might remain in perpetual flux. His deft scrambling and conflating of subject and genre combined with the astonishing bravura of his brushwork continue to provide challenging comment on the condition and reach of painting at a time when human experience has become largely vicarious.
Brown’s mannerist inventiveness derives not so much from a compulsion to break new ground as from a desire to examine and pervert the existing thicknesses of history, to recollect an open-ended mesh of references to painting and cultural history, past and present. In doing so, he creates a carnivalesque world where the rational and the irrational, the abstract and the visceral, the beautiful and the grotesque, the empty and the full are brought together in a vigorous state of play. Nothing in Brown’s paintings is as it initially appears to be. His evocation of memorable images—including Rococo, Mannerist, Expressionist, Surrealist, and sci-fi masterpieces—disturbs because his sophisticated distortions prevent the sources from ever being truly fixed and identified. His heterogeneous titles—Senile Youth, Polichinelle, Deep Throat, The Alabama Song, and so on—echo from popular culture, past and present, adding an element of free association to his perverse and slippery formula.
Beneath the sheer, flat surfaces of Brown’s paintings lurk roiling depths and textures, intricately described yet deprived of mass. In his lurid subjects, history swirls against vapors or in the silent vacuum of outer space. His courtly women and bloated, ectoplasmic figures float and melt in the process of efflorescent growth or decay—morbid reflections on the grand visions and gestures of image making; the tenuous structures of life, death, myth, and cliché; and the textures of the physical world that support them. In Brown’s occasional sculptures—a “still life” comprising a small table encrusted like a well-used palette, or a “portrait” comprised entirely of thick strokes of paint—his fascination with the physical properties of his chosen medium is given ultimate expression as both the subject and object of the work.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Gagosian Quarterly Talks
Glenn Brown and Xavier Bray
Touching on everything from the politics of taste to the vibratory character of lines, Glenn Brown and Xavier Bray, the director of the Wallace Collection, discuss Brown’s exhibition, Come to Dust, in London.
With preparations underway for an exhibition in London, Glenn Brown sat down with author Hari Kunzru to discuss the process behind Brown’s artmaking, the idea of the copy, and surprising overlaps between creating visual and literary works.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
Glenn Brown Rembrandt: After Life
In this short film, Glenn Brown demonstrates his process in creating the works for an exhibition at the Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam.