Artist StatementArtist's Statement: Beauty repairs the world. Whether naturally or humanly created, and however imperfect, beauty compels us to protect it. In this obligation lies a powerful foundation for both social and environmental justice. The landscapes feature Chesapeake and Cape Cod wildlife sanctuaries, fishing grounds, and threatened estuaries. Their strong horizons, shifting light, photographic clarity, spare compositions and fragile subjects parallel the ideas in the still life paintings, photographs, and collage constructions. Each painting, regardless of subject matter, reads as both a portrait and a landscape, in that each records the painter’s attempt to honor the subject’s fleeting beauty, precisely and truly, while at the same time marking a place in time. The power of the renderings is in deliberate contrast to the fragility of the subjects, to provoke the viewer to consider the meanings of strength, change, permanence, and trust. I work in oil on canvas that is mounted on archival board, using a non-toxic orange-based medium, and completing most works in a single sitting, on site ("alla prima.") I don't quite fit into the "plein air" world, because my work has a more abstract quality. I think of the landscape paintings as a marriage between Rothko and Kensett, and the still-life work as a liaison between Morandi and Strand. In 2012 I began three new series of collage constructions, one a response to gun violence, one a riff on decaying billboards, and the third an abstract contemplation on color, line and shape. All rely on found paper and mixed media, and use the natural processes of aging and the patina of wear as part of the artistic vocabulary. At the same time, I have expanded my photographic work in similar abstract-realist directions.
Educated in fine arts at Yale, I studied sculpture with Erwin Hauer, painting with Bernard Chaet and William Bailey, and photography. At Yale I appreciated the work of photographers Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans, painters Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, and Edward Hopper. I learned a great deal from MICA's Joe Giordano, a student of Fairfield Porter. I am self-taught as a landscape painter, and look to Fitz Hugh Lane, John Frederick Kensett, Mary Cassatt, Edouard Vuillard, Giorgio Morandi, Mark Rothko, and the Dutch and Flemish seascape painters as major influences. Working in a style known as abstract realism, I am interested in pushing the limits of perception while celebrating the beauty of the world.
"Paperwork: New Constructions by Jo Brown," curated by Kini Collins, Laughing Pint, Baltimore, MD, 2013
"New Work by Jo Brown," curated by Michael Owen, Milk & Honey, Baltimore, MD 2013
"Fragile: New Work by Jo Brown," Gallery 1448, Baltimore, MD, USA, 2010.
"light; heat: twenty arguments against war," paintings by Jo Brown, Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, 2003
"light; air," paintings by Jo Brown, Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, 2002
Current exhibit: Blue Heron Gallery, Wellfleet, MA; closes October 20, 2014
"Sweet'Art: Tenth Anniversary Show," Area 405, Baltimore, MD, 2013
"Baker Artist Award Show," Baltimore, MD, 2012
Salon Show, Station North Gallery D, Baltimore, MD, 2012
"Surroundings: Recent Work by Jo Brown, Greg Fletcher, and Leslie Schwing," Gallery 1448, Baltimore, MD, USA, Winter 2011-2012.
Wayne (PA) Plein Air Festival, Wayne, PA, Summer 2011
"Still Life," curated by Lisa Coddington, Rouse Company Foundation Gallery, Horowitz Center for the Arts, HCC, Columbia, MD, USA, July 9-August 9, 2009, an exhibition of works by Mary J. Arthur, Joan Brady, Jo Brown and Victoria Restrepo.
"Landscape," curated by Kini Collins, Rouse Company Foundation Gallery, Horowitz Center for the Arts, HCC, Columbia, MD, USA, 2008. Works by Penny Bamford, Jo Brown, Cinder Hypki, Laura Vernon Russell, Martha Simons, and Lyndie Vantine.
Blue Heron Gallery, Wellfleet, MA; Area 405, Baltimore, MD; Gallery 1448, Baltimore, MD; Left Bank Gallery, Wellfleet, MA; Left Bank Gallery, Orleans, MA; Arts at 510, Harrisburg, PA; Rouse Company Foundation Gallery, Columbia, MD; Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA.
Work is held in many private collections located in San Francisco, CA, Santa Monica, CA, Santa Barbara, CA, Atlanta, GA; New York City, NY; Baltimore, MD; Martha's Vineyard, MA, Southhampton, MA, Wellfleet, MA; Ardmore, PA, Philadelphia, PA, Wayne, PA; and Richmond, VA.