Press Release

During July and August, George Adams Gallery will present painted constructions from the early 1970's by Joan Brown (1938-90).  The exhibition will feature five cardboard constructions and one metal cutout made between 1970 and 1975, accompanied by related large-scale paintings and drawings from the same period.

Brown's painted constructions have been rarely exhibited and never before presented as a distinct body of work.  According to Brown, she embarked on the cardboard sculptures out of creative necessity during the renovation of her studio in 1973.  Working from her kitchen, she used readily available materials such as cardboard, string, and household paints fashioning roughly hewn sculptures that are at once whimsical and formally inventive.  

Typically, Brown drew on her personal experiences for subject matter, and in these sculptures she depicts several of her favorite activities: dancing, swimming, and travel. In addition, as one might expect given the autobiographical nature of her work, many of the figures are self-portraits. Several of the works are elaborately constructed, notably Luxury Liner (1973), which features a ship with 8 couples dancing around the deck, while Divers (1974) is suspended from the ceiling to provide a view of a pool from above and below.  In Smoker (Self-Portrait)  (1973), the artist presents herself in profile, a cigarette dangling from her mouth with a length of twisted wire forming the smoke.

Exhibition Checklist

Main Gallery
(clockwise from front desk)

Swimmers, 1974
cardboard, acrylic, graphite and string
16 x 36 1/2 x 24 1/2 inches
JBRs 6

Mary Julia # 6, 1976
acrylic, pencil on paper
36 x 24 inches
JBRd 53

Smoker, 1973
cardboard, oil enamel, wire, string and stone bead
21- 1/2 x 16 x 8- 1/4 inches
JBRs 3

Mary Julia # 34, 1976
acrylic, pencil on paper
36 x 24 inches
JBRd 55

Mary Julia #7, 1976
acrylic, pencil, crayon on paper
36 x 24 1/8 inches
JBRd 31

The Kiss, 1976
enamel on canvas
96 x 78 inches
JBRp 54

David in Egypt #8, 1976
acrylic, pencil on paper
36 x 24- 1/8 inches
JBRd 36

Airplane, 1974
acrylic on cardboard
11- 1/2 x 47- 1/2 x 41- 1/4 inches
JBRs 7

Dancers on a Car, 1973
cardboard, gouache, metallic gouache, acrylic,
graphite and string
50 x 64 x 10 inches
JBRs 5

Luxury Liner, 1973
cardboard, gouache, metallic gouache, acrylic,
graphite, oil, and string
29- 1/4 x 44 x 11 inches
JBRs 4

Side Gallery

Mary Julia # 10, 1976
acrylic, pencil on paper
36 x 24 inches
JBRd 54

Mary Julia y Manuel, 1976
enamel on canvas
95 x 77- 1/4 inches
JBRp 04

Divers, 1974
acrylic on aluminum and wood
51 x 36 x 61-1/4 inches
JBRs 8

Golden Gate Bridge, 1987
woodcut/ lithograph ed. 45/80
36- 1/4 x 26- 1/4 inches
JBRr 01.45