This is an impressive solo exhibition for an established artist, but becomes jaw-dropping when you discover Browne was born in 1986, and graduated only two years ago from Wimbledon College of Art.
Not to say, however, that she is unaccustomed to rising to the challenge; this exhibition is already her second solo show of 2011, (the first being ‘Cave’ at the renowned Jerwood Project Space). Looking at her glowing list of group exhibitions, too, would make any recent art graduate froth with envy; selected as she was by Ryan Gander and Dexter Dalwood for their respective presentations of emerging British artists. Alice, Alice, Who the F**k is Alice? Well, it seems the art world knows very well who Alice is…
Alice Browne, Curfew, 2011, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 60cm x 52cm.
What is so fascinating about Browne’s work is that it challenges the way we view painting; this inquiry into viewing is very ‘of the moment’ in art, when we think of the myriad of new ways to disseminate and digest information, but it is one that has been little approached by painters of late.
At first apparently abstract, all visible brush strokes, and uneven layers of colour, which belie their precision and depth, what Browne seeks is in fact to turn abstraction on its head, to have her paintings merge with the material, the physical – to bring two dimensionality back to life, and conjure epiphanies surrounding not perceived, but depicted space.
Alice Browne, Crusades, 2011, Oil on linen, 50cm x 40cm.
Thus, we are faced with a series of works, on canvas and on film, drawing on architecture (another very current trend in fine art practice) that allude to openings, windows, walls and archways – perhaps the ‘certain obstacles’ of the title - conjuring illusions of depth. As Gair Burton notes, Browne repeatedly asks us ‘ “What are you looking at?” ‘.
This is a worthy early solo exhibition from an artist who will no doubt be interesting to watch in years to come.
-- Charlotte Jansen
All images courtesy Alice Browne
top image: Alice Brown, courtesy of the artist and Limoncello Gallery.