Friday, January 12, 2007

Peggy Brown

Abstract paintings are intriguing. The shapes, colors, patterns, rhythm, and movement draw us in. What do they mean? Do they mean anything? Are they suppose to? What's the point of abstract painting? We could probably spend a goodly amount of time discussing abstracts. Peggy Brown is an artist whose work I admire. Subtle color, geometric shapes and other elements make her work exciting!


  1. These are lovely. At first I thought maybe she was working with squares and rectangles because she had started with quilting, but then from her statements discovered she started with the paintings and the quilts are a new medium for her. Why squares? why not triangles or arcs or amoebas? all of which can be found in various abstract artists' work.

    In western symbolism squares represent the materiality of the world. The astrologic and alchemical symbol for the planet Earth is a circle with a cross inside it. Christ on the cross is another example of this deep meaning: the spirit hung up on the material manifestations of reality.

    More directly, though, the shapes of these paintings, the edge where painting meets not-painting, are rectangles. It's a basic thing about western art, that shape. The shape of papers is customarily rectangular (although as you & I know handmade sheets of paper can just as easily be circular or oval or variously ragged). And it is easy to divide rectangular papers into smaller rectangles of various dimensions, harder to make them other shapes.

    And as you know, Chris, playing with watercolor one can really get lost in watching the fluid mechanics of the paint. In so far as abstract artwork is "about" anything, it is often about the media, and this artist clearly revels in the material world.

    She's connected at least in a cyberspace with Peggy Zalucha, the successful local artist who paints large highly realistic still lifes. The website and its builders lead to some other interesting places.

  2. I'm afraid I wasn't very clear about the symbolic connection between squares and crosses. It's that right angle, that we use to build houses.