Delia Brown: Mujeres Y Camaradas
September 10 – October 23, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, September 10th, 6 – 8pm
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present a new series of gouache paintings on paper by gallery artist Delia Brown. Here, in a continued exploration of the tradition of genre painting, Brown adapts the persona of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in multiple iterations. Inspired by travels to Mexico City, as well as Los Angeles’ Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival architecture, the paintings are a vibrant palette of red, magenta and turquoise, replete with traditional textiles and jewelry, set against a florid urban landscape. These images of lush interior and exterior scenes depict women dressed in quasi-traditional costume, backed by arched fireplaces, adobe walls and hacienda tile floors. Areas of expressive brushwork and dense layers of thickly applied color coexist with looser areas where graphite lines remain visible, combining Brown’s painting style with the immediacy of her drawing hand.
In Brown’s words:
“My work – in which I often appear - has often been criticized for its perceived narcissism. In thinking about the historical persona of Frida Kahlo, I came to realize that the main thing I envied was the late artist’s complete indulgence in her own narcissistic preoccupations, and her refusal to contain her ego.
I identify with Kahlo on several points: I have also suffered from debilitating back problems for many years, I am also from mixed religious roots (like Kahlo, my father is Jewish and my mother is Christian), and, most obviously, we are both representational female painters. (I also happen to have a uni-brow, which I have disavowed with tweezers since childhood). I use role-play in my work as a means for the catharsis of fears or fearsome desires, such as the desire for children, marriage, moral decadence, or wealth. To my mind, my inner struggles have some parallels with Kahlo’s, though her artistic outlet is narrowly trained, and mine tends to be more fractured, less concise (both in the variety of topics I take on as well as my tendency to mess around in mediums other than painting).
Kahlo focuses exclusively on her own image and her own pain, nearly refusing the outside world in her imaginary. For these self-representations, she has become a cultural deity for Mexico, feminist artists, and beyond. On a spontaneous trip to Mexico City in 2009, I decided to dress up like Frida and go “guerrilla lounging” (borrowing the homes of the wealthy to play house in) with friends. The idea of embodying a sacred cow – especially an ethnically and nationally specific one, not of my “own kind” – gave me tingles of nervous excitement (I wasn’t sure whether what I was doing might be “very wrong”, and that excited me in a similar way to smoking my first joint). Chasing our nerves with tequila, my girls and I began an exercise in masquerade and display that would become the series Mujeres y Camaradas (Women and Comrades), which we went on to continue in private homes and the streets of Los Angeles.”
Mujeres y Camaradas is Brown’s sixth solo exhibition at D’Amelio Terras. Brown was a participant in the 10th Biennial of Havana at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Cuba. Previous one-person exhibitions include: The Apartment, Athens, Greece; Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO; Il Capricorno, Venice, Italy; Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France; and Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.