In Deborah Brown’s recent work, a female protagonist takes center stage to re-enact myths and stories from antiquity, literature and the Bible, themes commonly found in the canon of Western Art. In a gender-altering twist, a female painter revisits images explored by male artists, changing the dynamic of the “male gaze.” The paintings remove the male characters altogether, substituting a Jack Russell Terrier as sidekick and observer of the unfolding narrative.
The work conjures a picaresque sprit familiar from adventure stories in which a heroine navigates an exotic and unfamiliar world, enticing the audience to follow her on a path of surprise, threat and wonder. The paintings are composed of thick slabs of paint applied with a palette knife and punctuated by linear passages and off-register color patches, a fractured, brooding landscape that mirrors the internal psyche of the protagonist. The paintings channel feelings of abjection, strength and freedom, offering a subtext of feminine empowerment and artistic discovery.