Sunday, 11 March 2018

Glenn Brown: Come To Dust

They Slipped the Surly Bonds of Earth and Touched the Face of God, 2017

I felt really fortunate to have caught this amazing show by Glenn Brown, in which he continues to mine the rich seam of art history, appropriating the work of others to create something fairly unique, futuristic and his own. As well as the influence of art from the past, Brown also takes inspiration from literature and music, which is evidenced in titles such as This Island Earth, and Unknown Pleasures. The exhibition - as they always seem to be at Gagosian - is immaculately presented, and has to qualify as one of the strongest displays of art in London this year so far.

 The Music of the Mountains, 2016

Brown resolved to draw more after his last London exhibition and his recent drawings are a fantastic commingling of sinuous, whiplash black and white ink lines, often merging two images into one to surreal effect. It was really encouraging and heartening to see examples of his drawings on both a large, and more intimate scale.

Hubcap Diamond Star Halo, 2017

The antique frames that Brown has used to beautifully frame and complement his images are complete works of art in themselves.

Sizewell C, 2016

Life on the Moon, 2016

Come to Dust, 2017

They Slipped the Surly Bonds of Earth and Touched the Face of God, 2017

Poor Art, 2016

Hot Love, 2017

On The Way To The Leisure Centre, 2017 

Die Mutter des Kunstlers, 2016

Passchendaele, 2017

Brown's painting style is trompe l'oeil in that from a distance it looks as though it has been created with thick impastoed paint. Closer inspection though, reveals a smooth, even canvas surface and that the paint has been applied with small brushstrokes to give a flat, almost photorealist finish. The unfinished picture (second below), was included in the exhibition so that we could get a good look at his painting technique. I have included Rembrandt's original so that you can get an idea of how much Brown transforms the original source material to his own psychedelic/nightmarish ends. You get the impression that Brown really enjoys what he does, and revels in both the physicality of paint and the act of painting.

 Rembrandt - Portrait of a Laughing Young Man, 1629-1630

Unknown Pleasures, 2016

 Ain't No Flies on the Lamb of God, 2017

A revelation to me were these surreal, absurdist sculptures saturated and drenched in gobs of thick paint, again appropriating earlier neo-classical style bronze sculptures of other artists. Further proof that Brown loves engaging in the physicality of paint. I loved the incongruous juxtaposition of the refinement of the sculpted bronze figures, and the rawness of the application of paint. They are like Auerbach paintings taken to the next level and manifested in 3D. The L'Arlésienne sculpture below was like an Impressionist arrangement of flowers by Monet also brought to physical three dimensional life. This show closes next weekend, and is definately worth a visit if you can make it. Fabulous!

Let me ferry you out to sea To see who you could have been When time comes to row back in You'll be in the place you should have been, 2017 

Un piccolo divertimento, 2017

Will you kiss me when I'm gone, 2018

American Sublime, 2017

 Luscious Apparatus, 2017

 L'ArlĂ©sienne, 2016

Drawing 16 (after Van Dyck/Van Dyck), 2017

Poor Moon, 2016

Dungeness B, 2016

Glenn Brown: Come To Dust
until 17th March
20 Grosvenor Hill