JUDITH BROWN

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Judith Brown - Inner self

“We often miss and overlook the aesthetic beauty and artistic possibilities in the simplest of objects that surround us….”

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My work explores both sculptural and digital compositions. Sometimes both these areas are combined to create detailed studies that manipulate both organic and artificial objects. These simple found objects are derived from the mundane and everyday items that are around us everyday. The form, colour and texture of the simplest ‘egg’ or ‘aubergine’ fascinate me with their endless aesthetic possibilities and creative diversity. I strive to manipulate and reconfigure to create intricate and detailed compositions that intrigue and challenge the viewer. Mundane domestic objects juxtaposed with whimsical objects are arranged into new conceptually layered pieces. My work is concerned with how we relate to the environment, both natural and artificial. On another level these works seek to engage and capture the audience in some way. They encourage the audience to imagine, speculate, or further question the imagery presented.

They have become part of the visual language I photograph and explore.

The sculptural elements in my compositions are constructed using laser cut paper and in-filled with the webs of the common ‘Watsonia’ bulb, a leafy prolific plant often considered a weed in many parts of Australia. The bulbs are made up of numerous layers, which are carefully peeled, cleaned and treated in order to adhere them to the laser stencil. The effect is lace like and reminiscent of the timeless intricate designs of the Belgian lace makers, the only difference is that the material is completely organic. Each bulb casing is different, characterised by a varying cell structure and degrees of strength or delicacy. The melding of ‘new’ technology with traditional cutting and pasting skills is satisfying if not time consuming but allows me the freedom to explore both intricate and bold designs.

The digital or photographic images utilise unlikely combinations and communicate particular ideas and memories associated with that object. I journey through a unique sculptural language that can almost be seen as three-dimensional collages. In varying degrees, elements are transformed or simply placed together so that they retain a sense of their original function, but also take on new meanings.

The idea of chance and random possibilities is strongly influenced by the imagery developed by the Surrealists whose common theme was spontaneity and the bizarre. They are part of an ongoing search for an aesthetic understanding, through material and textural experience and cement this loose link with surrealism where forms are perhaps suggested but not spelled out. They can be reminiscent of fantasy or dream like imagery but essentially rely on the viewer to construct meaning through their own memories or experiences. We often miss and overlook the aesthetic beauty and artistic possibilities in the simplest of objects that surround us.

Q. Have you lived in South Australia for your whole life?

A. I was born in Melbourne and studied Graphic Design at Caulfield Technical

College. As a student I became fascinated with photography, a skill that has

endured to this day.

Q. Who has influenced your style, during either formal education or in your

personal experience?

A. In later years I trained as a secondary teacher, which motivated the

acquisition and development of current but many new skills and media. This

need for more information has influenced and subsequently given me the

knowledge to pursue my own themes in art.

Q. Is your art based on any particular themes &/or ideas?

A. My work explores both sculptural and digital compositions. Sometimes both

these areas are combined to create detailed studies that manipulate both

organic and artificial objects. These simple found objects are derived from the

mundane and everyday items that are around us everyday I strive to

manipulate and reconfigure to create intricate and detailed compositions that

intrigue and challenge the viewer. Mundane domestic objects juxtaposed with

whimsical objects are arranged into new conceptually layered pieces. My

work is concerned with how we relate to the environment, both natural and

artificial. On another level these works seek to engage and capture the

audience in some way. They encourage the audience to imagine, speculate,

or further question the imagery presented. They have become part of the

visual language I photograph and explore.

Q. Which is more important to you, the symbolic meaning of your work or the

visual presentation?

A. The visual presentation in each composition is most important to me

because I stress the importance of allowing the viewer to construct his or her

own symbolic meaning. The final impact relies on the viewer to visually

investigate into the piece so the detail and construction of precise elements

are paramount for me.

Q. Who inspires you &/or who are your favourite artists at the moment?

A. Over the years I have been influenced by a variety of artists such as – Bill

McGuire, Bill Brandt, Iris van Herpen, Georgia O’Keefe, Arcimboldo – a

diverse and heavily précised list. Their attention to detail and preoccupation

with nature is a focus for me and continues to resonate along with the use of

light and shade and simplicity of form.

Q. Describe the ideal environment for your creative process.

A. The biggest problem for the artist is time and maintaining a balance in the

pursuit of the creative process. Practising as an artist is challenging not only

because one requires solitary time to produce but there is also a need for

interchange of ideas and stimulus through other artists and their work. This is

because the artist is supposed to be creating whatever their creative direction

leads them to do apart from the other demands of exposing their work to the

public.

Q. How has media (traditional or social) influenced your art?

A. Electronic media plays an important role in providing aesthetic material and

the ability to research and expand knowledge and skills. It not only acts as a

support but provides one with stimulus and challenge to see beyond the

studio space. We are all influenced by the environment around us and should

not be closed from new ideas, trends and challenges presented to us in as

many formats as possible.

Q. How would you describe the visual arts scene in South Australia?

A. The visual arts scene in South Australia is vibrant and diverse and gives

artists and art goers a plethora of themes, ideas and social stimulus. Many

experiment and push the limits of their form but the result is stimulating and

socially diverse.

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you as an artist?

A. The focus on a routine I believe is essential and I try to conduct my working

days as a conventional ‘job’. Depending on demands, a mix of activities

during the week is important for an artist to remain simulated and questioning.

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Prizes and Exhibitions

2016 ‘Flight of Fancy’ Group Exhibition, Art Images, Norwood

2016 Winner, Brighton Sculpture Exhibition, Indoor section

2016 Judge, Port Lincoln Art Prize, Nautilus Art Centre

2015 Commission for Mr & G Mrs Chillman. sculpture

2015 Christmas Collection Exhibition, Art Images, Norwood

2015 ‘A Natural Story’ City Library, Adelaide

2015 ‘Magnified’ 12 YEARS OF THE WATERHOUSE NATURAL SCIENCE ART PRIZE

National Archives of Australia, Canberra

‘Flight of Fancy’ featured in all media and advertising

2015 Loreto Spring Art Show, Adelaide

2015 ‘A Natural Story’ SALA Solo Exhibition, Edinburgh Hotel

2015 Finalist, Salvador, Lumen Art Prize, ongoing International Exhibitions

2015 Retrospective 12 YEARS OF THE WATERHOUSE NATURAL SCIENCE ART PRIZE

Museum of South Australia, Adelaide

‘Flight of Fancy’ featured in all media and advertising

2015 Finalist, Lethbridge Small Scale Art Award, Brisbane

2015 Finalist, Emma Hack Art Prize, Adelaide

2015 Finalist, Toorak Village Sculpture Prize, Melbourne

2014 Peoples Choice Award, Loreto Spring Art Show, Adelaide

2013 Overall Winner, THE WATERHOUSE NATURAL SCIENCE ART PRIZE, South Australian Museum

2012 Finalist, THE WATERHOUSE NATURAL SCIENCE ART PRIZE, South Australian Museum

2010-14 Tutor in Arts Education, University of South Australia

1993-10 Full time secondary teaching, Art Coordinator

1983-92 Freelance designer, part time teacher, Adelaide

1972 Diploma of Secondary Teaching, Fine Arts, Torrens College of Advanced Education

1970 Diploma of Art and Design, Caulfield Institute of Technology

1950 Born, Melbourne, Victoria

Peoples Choice Award, THE WATERHOUSE NATURAL SCIENCE ART PRIZE, South Australian Museum

 

Published Articles:

Textile Fibre Forum, Issue No115, Sep 15, 2014

The Art of Found Objects, Embellish Magazine No 18, June 15, 2014

Creating Sculptural Artwork, Embellish Magazine No 20, February 15, 2015

The Art of Judith Brown, Embellish Magazine No 25, June 15, 2015

‘Best of Editions’, Art Edit Magazine, February 10, 2016