Aaron Morgan Brown: Visual Play

When viewing a work of art, is it important to know the artist’s intent, or would you prefer to have no outside influence on your experience? How much validity do you place in your own interpretation in the piece? Artist Aaron Morgan Brown struggles to find the balance between sharing his process and letting the viewer’s imagination take the reigns, leading them in whatever direction they choose to go. There is no right or wrong way to look at art, but this question especially comes into play with Brown’s latest addition to the gallery, “Still Life with Memory.”

Which camp are you in?  If you are with the first group that prefers to know the artist’s thoughts and ideas, read on. Step into Brown’s universe and learn about his conceptual painting process in his own words.If you just want to experience the art, look no further than the painting. Either way,  please poll your response below!

still life with memoryStill Life with Memory 35 x 25 oil on panel

Aaron Morgan Brown on Still- Life Painting:

I’m interested in investigating and updating the possibilities of
traditional genres, much like a contemporary chef adding unexpected
ingredients to a familiar dish. Still life painting is so familiar
that it can sometimes be taken for granted, but to me it offers a
unique opportunity for visual play. Theatricality is already implied
within the genre. Each arrangement is like a stage set, complete with
“characters” that take the form of objects. I re-emphasize this idea
in a literal way, introducing narrative elements and backdrops that
add a dynamic flavor to an otherwise static scene. It’s the contrast
between the two, the stoic vs. active elements (what is observed vs.
what might be imagined), that I find exciting.

Aaron Morgan Brown on “Still Life with Memory”:

The “memory” in the title could refer to my own memory, or the
memories of an imagined viewer, or perhaps even the “memories” of the
objects in the painting. In a way, all painting is from memory, a
process of interpretation from eye to hand. Our conception of any
present day reality is likewise conditioned by our experiences,
filtered by memory. Is the WWI era biplane just a model hanging from
the ceiling, or a phantom of a conflicted history? It seems to be
entering the space of the idyllic scene of serenity and security at
the left. Memory intruding upon memory? Friend or foe? The star
wallpaper could be a peaceful night sky in the imagination of a child,
or an abstraction of anti-aircraft fire. Below we have objects which
appear to be “real,” the physical contrasted with the mental. The
chair is throne-like, suggesting that the viewer is “king” here, the
bringer of interpretation.

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