Celebrating the Chainsaw

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sugimoto by Brown

One more show to point out before I take a real summer break. It’s a show I saw in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and was incredibly impressed with. And it’s up until the end of the month.

Showing at the Robert Berman gallery in Santa Monica, it’s the work of Hugh Brown – an artist, and as you’ll see an obsessive chainsaw collector and aficionado. The show is comprised entirely of Brown’s appropriation of famous artworks into which Brown has inserted a variety of chainsaw references from the obvious to the subtle.

So we have Brown’s version of photographs by such heavy hitters as Diane Arbus, Harold Edgerton, Walker Evans, and Robert Mapplethorpe and painters like Matisse, Ed Ruscha, Jackson Pollack and dozens more. The works are so convincing that many mistook them for authentic pieces when shown last year at the California State University Fullerton Grand Central Art Center.

While the images stand on their own, there is humor and wit and intelligence behind every image. Take Brown’s Hiroshi Sugimoto piece entitled “Vista Theater (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)”. For this image Brown rented out the theatre and used a large format camera and an extremely long exposure to capture the entire film, just as Sugimoto did in his photographs of old American movie palaces and drive-ins.

A photographer, printmaker and assemblage artist for over 35 years, Brown has exhibited widely on the west coast, but claims his standout achievement was his prize in the “Design a Chair for Barbie” competition – not because of the second place finish but because the entry caused a fist fight amongst the judges!

Ruscha by Brown

Hockney by Brown

Arbus by Brown

Edgerton by Brown


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