John Brown at Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto

The Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto will be showcasing a new series of work by contemporary painter John Brown.This exhibition showcases two parallel suites of paintings in conversation with one another. “5 Attempts to Make a Painting of Contemporary Anxieties” are, as described, a set of five paintings rife with modern messages and political concerns. “8 Paintings of Thoroughly Researched People” are rooted in diagnostic photos from medical textbooks. Now an outdated practice, but here they reflect the concept of ‘We the People,’ the ones subjected to the surreal dystopian characteristics of life in this future. These paintings approach the dark side of technology and poke the growing fear of political power, the resurgence of neo-fascism and intolerance, the decline of diversity.Brown’s method requires painstaking layers of oil paint applied to panel and then stripped away, offering images that begin as figurative and have been slowly abstracted through his archaeological painting practice. Beneath the rich texture and color of Brown’s work, there has always been a conceptual underbelly which speaks loudly of contemporary issues. In this show the paintings undeniably recall a world of Big Brother surveillance technology: cell towers, satellites, microphones, bombs, and borders. A shadowed world not so far from where we sit today, with tape over the cameras on our laptops and jokes about the NSA that become less funny and more serious as the concrete foundations of privacy degrade.This exhibition runs from November 18 through December 21, 2017, Olga Korper Gallery, 17 Morrow Avenue, Toronto, Canada M6R 2H9.For details, visit: on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

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