Alex Brown's puzzle-like oil paintings are illusionary wonders. They are works of art that always spark instant questions and conversation. His landscapes and head shots are elaborate, pixilated mosaics that use a limitless color palette. Brown's brushstrokes create geometric patterns in the shape of triangles, ovals, or squares in precise increments. The result creates an image that's not unlike the distorted reflection from a turned-off television or a kaleidoscope.
Working from photographs found in his own personal files, postcards, newspaper clippings, travel brochures and photos culled from the Internet, Brown waits for an image to strike a chord of interest within him and then paints it. His method of painting is meticulous and follows a rigid system. First, he chooses the image. Then, Brown lays down a proper-sized grid in relation to the scale of the image he is using. He then transfers this to the canvas, finds a motif that will work well and begins painting from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. Brown does not work with any sort of preliminary sketches or drawings. He instead enjoys the physical composition of the works as they evolve.
Another optical trick that Alex uses in his work in addition to his geometric grids is the principle of utilizing various other images throughout the original source image. In other words, in his less rigid works, one can often find smaller representations within the larger abstract composition. This challenges the viewer, drawing them into a game that can present endless possibilities. Can you find the the pink bird in the lower left corner in Poppies, below? There are at least three standing figures in Birdland, seen here underneath Poppies.
The titles of Brown's works are clues which again seduce the observer into a guessing game. They identify the broader composition as well as smaller images found throughout the piece. They can be construed as seeds of information about each painting, providing an entrance into the work.
Being able to contemplate Brown's paintings from a distance as well as up close is very important in order to take in every detail meant for the viewer. As Brown puts it, "you can't see a painting with your nose against it."
[Take a few steps back from your computer while reading this newsletter or squint your eyes to get a similar perspective.]
Alex Brown was born in 1966 in Des Moines, Iowa where he lives and works today. His work can be seen in New York as well as in an upcoming show taking place in Switzerland this Spring.
availability of work
There is available work by Alex Brown that can be viewed in New York. The pieces vary in size and subject matter. The smallest work measures approximately 30" x 24". One of the larger canvases is sized at 90" x 60".
Prices for Alex's work range between $5,500 and $60,000.