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Joan Brown, 'Year of the Tiger' 1983.


Joan Brown, Year of the Tiger, 1983. Oil enamel on canvas, 72 x 120 inches. 

Recently featured in Hyperallergic is a long-form essay by Nicole Rudick discussing Joan Brown's life and legacy, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Brown's death. Rudick writes, "Brown died twenty-five years ago this month, leaving behind a substantial body of work, yet the trajectory of her art and art making, as well as her role in the Bay Area scene, is under-recognized. Solo exhibitions of her paintings are infrequent, and large-scale shows on the East Coast are unheard of. A small survey at George Adams Gallery in New York last spring, Joan Brown: Major Paintings from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, gave shape to Brown’s enthusiastic reception of Bischoff’s example, showing how she searched her immediate environment for things to paint."


She continues, "...Brown worked prolifically until her death, deepening her investigation into representing her inner life on the canvas — exploring the “animal” aspect of her consciousness, her relationships, and her interests. Her early work stands as evidence of the speed with which her own artistic language evolved and her fearless embrace of putting personal matters front and center in her art. “The exterior part of art is very, very fickle and very, very chancy,” she told Karlstrom in 1975, “so you concentrate on the interior elements.” This introspective yet intrepid artist felt compelled to show her “interior reasons” for creating a painting on canvas, and the two were inextricable: she was the art and art was her."