John Brown "The Vine Series" - March 2010
March 19th - April 2010
Cross Mackenzie Gallery is pleased to present “The Vine Series”, a solo exhibition by Washington born photographer John Brown, opening in March to coincide with the onset of spring.
This exquisite series of photographs of wisteria vines hover between realism and abstraction. The photographs look like calligraphy - their fluid dark lines gesturing across the page with all the lyrical quality of a Japanese ink drawing on rice paper. At the same time, the black silhouettes of the branches have the dynamic abstract power of a Franz Kline canvas. Returning to an arbor of vines in Southern California, the artist documented the branches throughout the seasons - with their first annual buds, in complete leaf midsummer, changing fall colors and in their most graphic state, their stark winter nakedness.
“I captured different sections of the branches – using my traditional, single frame approach; but later, in my studio, I realized it was possible to recreate the elaborate latticework of the vine structures,” says Brown.
Thus, the artist intentionally assembles the individual photographs with space between them to recall the architectural framework and to underscore the visual movement. The interlocking vines seem to dance from frame to frame - the chaos of nature’s swirling tendrils tamed by the geometric grid. Though each frame holds up as its own individual photograph, the photo-assemblages unite to create a powerful and beautiful artwork. Brown continues his exploration of natural forms with this series, focusing on accentuating details and abstracting their forms. The gallery will also show a collection of his black and white flower photographs for which he has become well known in Washington. His prints are as rich in tone as a Weston or an Adams.
John Brown’s master’s degree in art history from Boston University was the groundwork for his study of photography at the Corcoran School of Art. He has received grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts and has been included in numerous solo and group shows here and abroad, notably “Reflections in Black, a History of Black Photographers at the Smithsonian’s Art and Industry Gallery. This will be Brown’s first show with Cross MacKenzie Gallery.
John Brown-Vine Series