Oval

Exhibition Images

Coming Soon

Oval

Following the famous Planet Paintings series, inspired by the Planet Suite by Gustav Holst (1914-1916), James Brown began working on the series My Other House in 2012. The set of works in the present exhibition formed much of the series. The "other house" referred to in the title of the project has no tangible existence, yet it is omnipresent. It is a space where we can write our own rules, where time stands still and objects transform into something new. It is a site of childhood and of powerful creative focus, a refuge where the mind can seek a brief respite. James Brown has often been described as an explorer, a shaman, a scientist, even a diviner. His approach to art is both scientific and spiritual: he methodically studies each technique – painting, ceramics, engraving – until he has mastered it completely. Yet his works also reflect his urge to delve down into the deepest essence of being. While the Planets series explored the universe and a concept of nothingness that, far from being an empty void, is constantly interfused by shifting molecules, the set of works showcased in the present exhibition draws the visitor into a space that lies both within and beyond the artist. James Brown invites us to peer through the windows of his secret house and glimpse at the perfection of space: the oval, a classic recollection, focusing the gaze, leading it into the depths beneath the painting's surface. The sky offered to the visitor's eye is now a dark layering of grey, black, and green hues. Far from the Planet Paintings series and its delicate sandy surfaces, covered with a web of points interrupted by the presence of delicately coloured planets, the works in the Ovals series and its counterpart Orb Things are characterised by smooth, unruffled surfaces dominated by a dark palette, here and there by molecular flashes that unsettle the viewer's visual perception. As James Brown says, the oval format is surprising in that it can create an illusion of lack of balance, thereby taking the viewer into space as it expands, obviating the need for points of the compass. The skies glimpsed through these oval windows are mysterious: their empty-seeming blackness hides a space teeming with shapes and life. Early in the 1980s, James Brown lived in New York, where he began his career with an exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. Neo-Expressionists like Basquiat and Haring were just returning to figurative art, a movement James Browns painting has often been associated with. Yet his oeuvre has become more and more abstract, distancing itself from the representation of reality and rather devoting itself to seeking out what lies beyond. James Brown's artistic process has been described as one of "ritualised creativity", stripping shapes down further and further to achieve the essence of being: to achieve not the primitive but the truly ancient, and through it, universality. The works shown in the present exhibition reflect this process of simplification. While the shapes are precise, they are nonetheless in a permanent state of flux, what remains is the potential for future metaphysical experiments into the nature of existence.

Oval

  • Galerie Karsten Greve | Cologne's Exhibitions 14
  • Related Exhibitions

Looking for available works from this exhibition? Let us help you!

No artworks for sale are added to this exhibition. If you are interested in seeing available works we
will get in touch with the gallery and get back to you with the available works.