Invoking the Old Masters while simultaneously commenting on contemporary food culture, Mia Brownell's paintings challenge our ability to digest the intellectual as well as the sensual experience of what we choose to eat. With intertwined vines, clusters of ripe fruit, dramatic chiaroscuro, and bold perspectives, Brownell's vibrant compositions reference 17th century Dutch Realism and the coiling configurations of molecular imaging. These dynamic (un)-still life paintings re-conceive DNA, amino acids, and protein chains as the architecture on which her food subjects dangle.
In Stomach Acid Dreams Brownell addresses the natural and spurious origins and our relationship to food in a scientifically altered, consumer society, all while challenging our understanding of both still life and abstract painting by fusing the two in a surprising new form. As Donald Kupsit said of her work, "Brownell has invented a unique, convincing way to synthesize Old Master realism and Modern Master abstraction – and make a metaphysical as well as social point by doing so.”
With this new body of work, Brownell pushes the veristic boundaries of her previous works, finding opulent visions in muscle, bone and sinew to create her dense and exquisite allusions. As we examine these paintings, the sheer machinery of nature comes to mind, as do the seemingly abstract manipulations of the genetic biologist and consumer markets – revealing alarming depths in the loveliest of pictures.
Mia Brownell was born in Chicago, Illinois to a sculptor and biophysicist. She has had solo exhibitions at venues in several major American cities including the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. She was recently selected to participate in the Aldrich Museum’s Radius program for emerging artists and a Visiting Artist residency at The American Academy in Rome. Mia’s paintings have been included in group exhibitions worldwide and are currently on exhibit at the Mattatuck Museum.