Name: Renee Brown
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
Science and art have always run parallel paths in my life. As a child, my science projects usually focused on the earth. I remember roving my local landscape with mom identifying types of igneous rocks. Also, my family were educational vacationers. I was that kid at the Smithsonian gift shop riffling through the geode and polished stone bins in search of the perfect piece of rose quartz or tiger eye.
Which sciences relate to your art practice?
The mineral world enchants me. A few years ago, I visited the Huston Museum of Natural Science which boasts the best mineral collection in the U.S. I spent the entire day in that exhibit and I actually wept at the beauty of the specimens two….ok, three times.
What do you use to create your artworks?
The foundations of my sculptures are porcelain, earthenware and glaze. I carve each individual ‘crystal’ separately then fire, glaze and apply post firing surfaces such as paint, crushed glass, gold leaf etc. Each crystal is completed in its entirety before I begin assembling the piece. I do this because I never know how the composition will come together until I begin assemblage and I don’t want any ‘bad sides’ to interrupt my flow. After the form is complete I apply another round of surface to create a cohesive visual.
Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:
My recent solo museum show ‘Profusion’ at MAM is my most ambitious exhibition yet. The museum was amazing in their willingness to help me alter the space; creating an immersive environment complete with soundscapes and custom lighting.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?
Artist Statement: Brown’s sculptural works are crafted from a personal vernacular of beauty. Referencing objects from the mineral world, she is inspired by the endless possibilities of composition. Brown allows her imagination’s interpretation of these objects to flow, often bypassing what might rationally be found in nature. This blurred line between reality and created reality intrigues her. Minerals that are mined for the production of ceramic supply enter her studio in their pummeled state and are transformed into the visual essence of their original existence. This redemptive quality reflects Brown’s journey as an artist striving to incorporate the seemingly disparate concepts of ancient world and modern life. “I enjoy watching my work invite the viewer in and, if only for a moment, they can lose themselves in the curiosity of the composition, perhaps creating a personal narrative with the piece. This process of creation, existence and exploration forms a shared experience between us.”
Photographs courtesy of David Baumstark.
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