For his fourth show with Sadie Coles HQ, Don Brown presents his latest series of sculptures. The works include major new pieces in his ongoing series of portraits of his wife, Yoko, as well as one of his compelling renderings of fruit.
In Yoko XXV (Silver Twin), two sylphlike Yokos are rendered in Sterling silver. The cool, mercury colouring imbues the pair with a gleaming fluidity, emphasising their physical intertwinement and symbiosis. The lowered gazes and gentle touch of one hand upon the hip, engender a sense of contemplativeness and tenderness characteristic of Don Brown’s art.
The figures are variously expressive of doubleness, appearing to be twins, mirror images or doppelgangers, while their flickering surface continually compresses and reflects their surroundings. Within their tentative embrace we may also glimpse the most intimate and ineffable of human relationships – of ourselves to ourselves. In other pieces, Yoko is presented in bronze, her hips swivelling sideways and arms casually hanging down, and in white acrylic composite, where we see her variously with her arms up, her hair in a sharp bob, yawning, and pregnant.
Don Brown’s art explores questions of representational perfection. His sculptural vocabulary harks back to classical antiquity and the elegance and idealism of neoclassical marbles such as Canova’s The Three Graces (1814-17), while also invoking modernist realism as instanced by Degas’s La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (1881). In Brown’s distinctive take on classical sculpture, the place of an idealised heroine (or ‘Everywoman’) is taken by the real-life figure of the artist’s wife in a casual pose. Yoko becomes a conflation of the generic and the individual.
Don Brown was born in Norfolk and studied at the Central School of Art (1983-5), followed by the Royal College of Art (1985-8). Recent solo exhibitions have taken place across Europe including a one person survey at Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2007). Don Brown has taken part in several significant group shows, including The Naked Portrait, 1900-2007 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2007). The artist lives and works in Suffolk.