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Press Release

Christopher Brown
Recent Paintings
May 20 to June 28, 2008


John Berggruen Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by celebrated Bay Area artist, Christopher Brown. Christopher Brown: Recent Paintings marks Brown's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and will run from May 20th to June 28th. The gallery will host an opening reception for the artist on Tuesday, May 20th between 5:30 and 7:30 pm.


Art historian Michael Brenson has written "Brown is not interested in the essence of an event. He wants to make it possible to feel and consider the ways events are lived and remembered."1 Memory has been an abiding factor in Brown's work since he took an interest in painting at the age of four. Brown states, "The experience of painting is an experience of trying to bring up something in me, a kind of consciousness, a relationship to the world that's a visual experience that makes me think of my awareness of the world when I was 4 and 5 years old, when I was first interested in art."2 In this exhibition, Brown focuses his attention on the visual scenes that have dominated the past two decades of his life. This work, in particular, has derived from Brown's twenty-year acquaintance with his neighborhood; he considers these paintings to be an homage to the houses and buildings in his community. For the viewer, the series of house paintings is also meant to serve as an entrée into the worlds represented in Brown's other works on display. According to Brown, he has framed these paintings with ubiquitous visual analogies that extend from theme to theme. As an example, the house structures that populate the foregrounds of certain paintings are reflected in the water on other canvases, while the white fields, parallel lines and curvilinear forms of Brown's skiers are echoed in the ripples of the water and structural lines of the swimming and house paintings. The connections between these paintings seem disjointed at first, but when taken as a complete body of work, each painting harmoniously serves as a singular representation within the larger visual experience and memory of a man.


Christopher Brown was born in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 1951. He received his B.F.A from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973 and his M.F.A at the University of California, Davis in 1976. He has held teaching positions at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently a professor of painting at the California College of the Arts. His work is represented in numerous museum collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. Brown has been honored with several awards since the beginning of his career, including three National Endowment for the Arts awards. He currently lives and works in Berkeley, California.

1Brenson, Michael. History and Memory: Paintings by Christopher Brown. Fort Worth: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1995. 2Ibid.