David Lloyd Brown: Sudoku Series
For his 1st solo show in more than a decade, David Lloyd Brown* is showing twenty 1’x1’ paintings from his new series entitled, “Small Creatures”. Brown has created a site inspired installation of the 20 works by grouping the paintings into 4 distinctive stand-alone vertical arrangements that are visually, thematically, and compositionally connected to each other. Each arrangement is comprised of 5 visually complex related paintings. This is the first time Brown has installed his work in this way.
Like in his past bodies of works, Brown is using his signature templates to create these vibrant and engaging paintings. The shapes of his templates, with often employ curves, are inspired by shapes, symbols, and patterns that can be found throughout human history and globally in many present-day cultures. He states, “I use templates as if they were genetic building blocks to make paintings using oil and acrylic… I am inspired b yimages, symbols, and patterns that appear to be long lasting, almost timeless in many cultures. In the French curve, the Boteh motif in oriental carpets, the paisley in Scotland, in Mayan stone carvings, and even the wheel structure from India, one sees a similar motif that permeates the culture and the artwork….All of these point to a timeless use of a curved unfolding motif. I see them as deliberate compositional tools with which the artist’s intent speaks to us across the centuries. For example, an Aztec stone calendar makes use of this curved compositional device to complete the markers along the calendar wheel…These curved compositional designs are global in abundance. They are engaging to the eye, and can hold any number of cultural meanings. The curved template I use is an opportunity to reference the past while creating future associations.”
Brown creates his visually complex patterned and visually related paintings, not only by utilizing his template process in all of the works, but by using a series of systems he has created to guide his artistic practice. His processes inspired the name of this new series of paintings. He explains, “The 12” x12” canvases start with one shape, then two, then three until five are used and evolve into new and more complex compositions…I am using these new designs (or creatures) as characters to populate larger canvases (or worlds).”
The basic principles of Color Theory guide his painting practice. Each of the four painting groupings are centered by one of the tenants of basic color theory and their titles reflect this (Monochrome, Complementary, Split Complementary, Triad). Each painting grouping is a visual evolution, not only from his use of templates, but also by his use of color theory. All of the twenty paintings, and for that matter his four painting groupings, are visual evolutions related by patterns, composition, color pallet, and color theory. It is important to note the visual evolutions of the four vertical groups of paintings are horizonal and go from left to right, while the visual evolutions of the 5 paintings in each of the four groupings are vertical in nature (up/down).
Theories of evolution influence his thinking and artistic process. Brown shares: “I draw further inspiration from science and our current understanding of evolution….One theory of evolution explains the creation of new species as evolving from the physical structures available in earlier living forms. Thus, evolved the legs and feet of amphibians from the fins of fish. Creation is not spontaneous generation but a cobbling together of genetic material found in the available building blocks in nature at the time….The templates I use to make paintings are like these genetic pieces. They become the compositional tools that allow me to find an aesthetic expression where change is inevitable and where order can coexist with continuous change. As I use the templates to draw and paint the process changes them.”
Systems and patterns, are clearly central to Brown’s artistic process. His choice of utilizing only 1’x1’ canvases for his Small Creatures painting series underscores this. How he labels his works is yet another example: “My affinity of the scientific method has led me to title the works using a cataloguing system. For example, REF#2021/01 is the first work made in the year 2021.” Brown’s systems also manifest in how he created his site inspired installation of the four vertical painting groupings. The installation of the two outer vertical painting groupings are a mirror image of each other acting almost like bookends, brackets, or end quotes. He carefully measured the installation spacing of the 5 paintings in each of the four groups, as well as the spacing between the four vertical groups, to ensure all followed his uniform and very precise mathematical spacing system that is based on a 1’x1’ grid system. The grid system has been used for centuries by artists, craftspeople, architects, archeologists, farmers, builders and so many other professions. Visual order and unseen order are cornerstones of Brown’s artistic practice. Visual harmony and beauty are also paramount in this body of work.
The majority of the systems Brown draws from are those that have stood, evolved, and survived the tests of time. His processes have enabled him to create a meaningful, visual engaging, metaphorically layered, and fascinating world of “Small Creatures” for all to ponder and wonder at. A beautiful and needed way to inaugurate the new Spoke Gallery space, to celebrate MWP’s new home, and to start 2021.
-Kathleen Bitetti, curator
About David Lloyd Brown
Boston-based painter and educator David Lloyd Brown has exhibited for over 30 years in exhibitions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands. He has had one person exhibitions at The Chapel at Hull University, The Haven Gallery, Boston UK, The Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, Spalding, and Arts Coritani, Swineshead all in the United Kingdom. In Boston he has had over 20 one person exhibitions, shows include the NK Gallery, The New England School of Art & Design, The Artists Foundation Boston, and The Boston Drawing Project at the Bernard Toale Gallery.
Group exhibitions include Fanfare at the Saint Botolph Club, Boston, MA, The Poetic Dialogue Project at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL. , and the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. His work is in many private and public collections including Fidelity and Putnam Associates.
David Lloyd Brown received his Master of Fine Arts in 1986 from Cornell University and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1979. He has taught painting, drawing and visual arts at the university level from 1989 until he joined the staff at the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts in 1997 where he served as Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the school from 2005 until 2014.
Brown also has ties to South Boston. He maintained his studio practice in South Boston’s Fort Point from 1979 to 1996. He was one of the cofounders of the 1st artist live-work coop founded in Fort Point: 249 A Street.
For more information about David, his art work and to contact him: www.davidlloydbrown.com
Medicine Wheel Productions is honored to inaugurate Spoke Gallery’s new flat file project with a solo exhibition by David Lloyd Brown. On view are four drawings he selected. Brown started this series in 2017.
He shares: “These drawings are inspired by the characteristics attributed to left-brain and right-brain functions in humans. The left-brain, right-brain theory attributes logic, linear thinking, thinking mathematically, and thinking in words to the left-brain while the right brain embraces feelings, the arts, intuition and imagination with a more holistic approach.
Using this binary, I employed a diptych composition using the left side of the drawing to draw, and sometimes solve, the Sudoku number puzzles I found in the daily local newspapers. The right side was reserved for representational drawings mostly of plants and sometimes household objects that I could observe wherever I was living at the time. Together the two types of drawings (thoughtful Sudoku and holistic plants) became different visual ways of acknowledging my life at the time.
Initially, I made these drawings in a sketchbook that I kept while on vacation in Key West, where there is a beautiful abundance of flora and not much space to make larger works of art. Later the scale and intimacy of that format helped me make drawings while I concentrated on healthcare for my spouse.
When the COVID pandemic compelled everyone to isolate in March of 2020, I revived working on this series alone in my apartment and in my studio.”