12/21/2009 Big Red & Shiny
GENETICS @ AYSCOUGHFEE HALL MUSEUM
by DAVID DE VERNY
Most works of art, especially in the visual arts, are created to capture concepts in a specific time, space or location. Object making, installation art, earth works or performance art are all about the here, now and for that matter the space, that sculpts the object, crafts the simulacra, and locates the conceptual.
The seven multi-panel drawings in David Lloyd Brown’s exhibition Genetics, on tour in the latter weeks of 2009 at the Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, in Spalding, England embrace wider territory. Originally designed for the specific geographic location of Boston, Lincolnshire and shown in that city in 2007 at the Haven Gallery, this exhibition is the first of two series of works linking the two Bostons (Boston, Lincolnshire and the newer Boston, Massachusetts). The show is a metaphor celebrating the endless change and birth of the world around us.
Brown came to this project in 2005 when he encountered the Partnership for the Historic Bostons, a small band of American and English devotees committed to preserving the historic connection of Puritan America to its English origins in East Anglia where the show has been touring for the past two years. These groups (both the Partnership and the Puritans) proved ideal for the esthetic mining of a territory almost untouched by any other in artistic practice until now. A parallel species of drawings derived from the common ancestor of the first drawing in this series is planned for Boston, Massachusetts in the near future. This series will complete the cycle and bring closure to a body of work inspired by one city as the cultural ancestor of another.
This body of work does bring to mind some artists, notably the American conceptual artist Lowry Burgess, known for his multi-site installation in Afghanistan and on Easter Island designed to realign the earth’s axis between those two spots on the globe. Of influence as well might be the work of British minimalist, Norman Toynton whose paintings and installations in the 1970s and 80s explore sameness and difference in the sequential multi-paneled constructions of heavily painted pegboard.
From the catalogue essay written by New York critic and curator Joseph R. Wolin, we learn the single template used in each drawing bears a striking resemblance to a human phallus. Controversial in itself, the template/phallus has evoked criticism from some members of the scientific community who argue that genetics need not take place solely within a sexual context. Indeed it doesn’t, as Brown’s work insists. The vision driving this series of drawings is evolution and genetics. It is the vision of biological change, referenced in the titles of each drawing named after major contributors in the fields of genetics and evolution.
Additionally, Brown's work is an acknowledgement of the forces behind cultural and social evolution as symbolized by presenting these drawings in two cities one of which gave birth to the other 379 years ago that motivated Brown to create panel after panel of complex almost hieroglyphic abstractions. It is Brown’s location of his drawings to engage the cultural and topographical signified by these two cities that gestates new meaning to the problem of the decorative. Using templates and ordering systems, each drawing evolves from the physical structures in the drawing preceding it, taking the viewer on a complex journey through pattern, shape and decoration and locating the overall design in an evolutionary context.
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11/11/2009 Spalding Today:
Genetics exhibition in Ayscoughfee
GENETICS is the theme of the latest exhibition from internationally acclaimed American artist David Lloyd Brown at Ayscoughfee Hall museum in Spalding.
The exhibition of drawings will run in the museum's Geest Gallery until December 18 and entry is free.
Brown is currently Associate Dean of Academic Affairs—Graduate Programs at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.
He has exhibited extensively for over 25 years, most recently in one person exhibitions at The New England School of Art & Design, The Artists Foundation Boston, and The Boston Drawing Project at the Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts.
He said: "The drawings in the cycle are displayed in order of the Fibonacci sequence linking the art work to nature and the aesthetic sensibility of the western tradition that extends from ancient Greece to the present.
"The first drawing of one panel is followed by a second single panel, then two, three, five, eight and ultimately an expansive 13 panels of the seventh drawing that reaches across the grand wall of the Geest Gallery.
"Experiencing them in progression I hope the changes in shape, decoration and complexity will captivate you and inspire contemplation on the natural order of change and evolution."
Councillor Nick Worth, South Holland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Rural Affairs, said: "This is a really exciting exhibition to hold in the Geest Gallery.
David is a fantastic artist, and we're really proud to exhibit his beautiful drawings."
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May 18, 2009
David Lloyd Brown, the associate dean of academic affairs at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, comments on the MFA Thesis Exhibition on display through May 24. Read More >>