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Gerard Brown: Seeing and Reading

October 18, 2009

Exhibit Dates: October 26th to November 27th, 2009

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29th, 2009, 7:00  to 8:30 p.m.; Artist Talk begins at 7:15 p.m.

HANCOCK, MI -Seeing and Reading, an exhibition of artwork by Philadelphia artist Gerard Brown will take place at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from October 26 to November 27, 2009.

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery Thursday, October 29th, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. An artist talk will begin at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Brown will be exhibiting a series of gouache paintings titled The Whiteness of the Whale, which reference Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby Dick.  Brown makes paintings that sit at the intersection of seeing and reading. His paintings invite viewers to examine the idea that pictures can be read.

The notion of the image as a form of text was central to much of the art making and theory of the late 20th century. By employing various writing systems (Braille and others) as building blocks of pictures, Brown invites the viewer to be a reader and the reader to be a viewer in hopes that something might be gained in the space between these parts of our selves.

 

"A photograph of a person or a city is one form of description, and a poem about that person or place is another," he observes, "but what happens when these two perfectly adequate forms of description are turned on one another?"

 

Describing Brown's work in an upcoming brochure, art critic Tom Csaszar notes, "The Whiteness of the Whale presents us with two layers of small circles overlapping and fusing with each other into one pattern that moves across the paper looking sometimes structured and sometimes random, and in a true sense it always is both."

Csaszar continues, "While there are numerous ideas and intellectual responses to Brown's work, it is on the level of direct and immediate pleasures and impressions that Brown's surfaces are ultimately read.  They can then be re-read as various suspensions and interruptions of meanings in order to make their sense more visible."

Brown received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University of Fine Arts.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia.  His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the east coast and Chicago. 

Brown has also been actively involved in art criticism and arts writing and has worked for clients including the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Mural Arts Program.

Brown will be on Finlandia University campus the week of October 27-30, 2009 where he will provide individual critiques to students and will present a public talk at his opening reception.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 12 pm - 4 pm or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.

 

Photo Cutlines:

Photo 1: The artist Gerard Brown

Photo 2: The Whiteness of the Whale (#19. "westward...a most imperial"), 2009, gouache on paper, 30 x 22 inches 

Photo: Sam Fritch