Christopher Brown Biography
Christopher Brown is an acclaimed painter and printmaker who currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received a BFA from the University of Illinois and an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and he served as a professor at the University of California at Berkeley from 1981-1994, where he was the chair of the art department from 1990-1994. He is currently an Eminent Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts in Oakland.
Mr. Brown has received NEA grants in both painting and art criticism as well as awards from the American Academy and Institute of Art and Letters, and the Equitable and Rockefeller Foundations. His works are in major collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the De Young Museums in San Francisco, the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and many private collections. He is represented locally by the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco and in New York by Edward Thorp Gallery.
Christopher Brown Description
It is our good fortune to have collected these works by Christopher Brown at their publication and Crown Point and Paulson Press where they were printed.
Brown is primarily a painter, but has used printmaking as an important tool throughout his career. He began teaching at the University of Virginia, Richmond in 1980, and at that time, he started experimenting with etching as a way to enhance his controlled painting style. He describes the technique as a form of “super drawing” containing powerful spontaneity. This is apparent in his early etchings; Three Finger Model (1980), a crosshatched image of a childhood baseball glove, and The Presidents Series (1982-84), a collection of expressionistic faces. He stopped etching when he extended his printmaking enthusiasm into woodcut at Experimental Workshop, New York, in 1986 and lithography when he was asked to create a piece for the Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, in 1990.
In 1991, Brown was invited to Crown Point Press to revisit etching, and over the next few years he completed several projects there. Etching involves incising images on the surface of copper plates. The malleable quality of the plates enables them to be reworked while keeping a visual record of the image’s progression. With an impressionable surface and the ability to be re-inked in different colors, the plates give the artist complete freedom to rework his imagery. By communicating his ideas using intaglio, Brown recognized that his “work relies on the relationship between things that are stark and dark and other things that are subtle and delicate. Color proofing is crucial and subtle distinctions of color are really important.” Brown layers plates and uses omniscient viewpoints in his prints in order to investigate the ambiguous relationships found in masses of figures. He explores this concept through crowded scenes of sailors, soldiers, travelers, trains and birds. Blending realism and abstraction in his etchings allows him to physically and symbolically uncover his remembered subjects. Since 1996, he has continued working in etching at Paulson Bott Press in Berkeley.