Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deborah Brown, Freewheeling @ the ACTIVE space

I am a pretty big fan of Deborah Brown’s gallery Storefront, which is easily one of the most consistent galleries in Brooklyn with Jenny Vogel’s video they showed last summer of an inexplicably free floating black stone in a modernist parking garage was easily the best piece of art I’ve ever seen in Brooklyn. Being that Brown is an impressive gallerist, I had suspicions that her art was sub-par in the same way that Jerry Saltz always joking about his early years as a painter. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Brown’s large show at the ACTIVE space. Which for a Brooklyn is huge and a tip of the hat to the ACTIVE space for having an expansive solo show to break up the never-ending stream of group and occasional two person shows that overwhelm Brooklyn. Brown’s large, vibrantly colored paintings more than hold up in the space with little bits of cars and piles of scrap metal rendered in soft mushy strokes of gray that at their best when border on the abstract. This allows the debris to suggest foreign conflicts or an apocalyptic setting and not the romanticized vision many have of the old Bushwick, before Luhring Augustine and the young fashionable people, or I guess depending on your age, before Roberta’s or white people. However you want to see the bits of representation in Brown’s painting, it is hard to deny the woman knows color and her just-shy-of-florescent color palate radiates like a non-stop sunset at the end of the world.

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