Spotlight

Joan Brown

George Adams Gallery, New York (S12)

Joan Brown, Homage to Akhenaton, 1983, Enamel on canvas, 182.5 × 304.5 cm, Courtesy: George Adams Gallery, New York

Joan Brown, Homage to Akhenaton, 1983, Enamel on canvas, 182.5 × 304.5 cm, Courtesy: George Adams Gallery, New York

George Adams Gallery presents four monumental paintings by influential American artist Joan Brown, from her iconic 1983 series, Homages.

Brown was omnivorous in her study of art, and keenly felt herself to be a student throughout her career: of the old masters, ancient cultures, spiritual thinking. The ‘Homage’ paintings then represent a culmination of her studies as she both draws from and engages with the symbolism of each culture: the Egyptian pharaoh, Akhenaton; Mayan god, Quetzecoatl; the spiritual teachings she gained in India, and the mystic beauty of China’s Huangshan range. All measuring 6 x 10 ft, the works were made in recognition of the various ancient cultures, ideologies and individuals who impacted Brown’s thinking.

Never before exhibited as a group, these four paintings represent a vital aspect of her later career. They reveal an introspective, and deeply spiritual artist at the peak of her ability.

Joan Brown (b. 1938, California; d. 1990, India) turned a youthful fascination with Egyptology into a life-long pursuit of beliefs and cultures around the world. With the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977, Brown traveled to Egypt for the first time. Subsequent trips to South America, China, India and Mexico followed over the next five years. No tourist, Brown often traveled alone and made a point of accessing hard-to-reach destinations. She saw the purpose of these trips as an opportunity to “study ancient belief systems” which she supplemented with extensive research of her own.