The Work of Joan Brown

The Work of Joan Brown

I could write forever about the artist Joan Brown. Born and raised in San Francisco, she experienced  a difficult childhood which is reflected in her art. Married four times, the artist met an early death while installing her work in India.

Brown is well known for being part of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, but her style morphed many times to the dismay of her art dealers, who were more concerned with economics. However, that was not this artist’s concern. Brown’s work is consistently narrative and autobiographical, using portraiture as her subject. Initially the artist created intense texture using a palette knife and layers of house paint.  Later her canvasses became less textured and the images lost their perspective, as we see in the example in my blog.

The soulful self-portraits of this amazing artist help us understand Brown’s soul. She experienced difficult relationships with men, as illustrated in the spilled glass of wine and distant gaze of her partner. Brown also loved to dance and we often see couples dancing on the canvas.

Throughout her career what is consistent is Brown’s strength and power as a woman. Joan Brown’s paintings are timeless and universal.