The Bushwick Paintings
"The skylines of Manhattan’s outer boroughs are a mysterious and bristling place, every bit as alive as the well-known profile of the city’s postcard-perfect skyscrapers. For Deborah Brown, whose studio is in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, this is a place of dramatic extremes. Some vistas, screened through a tangle of barbed wire, evoke deserted urban spaces, while others of satellite dishes and water towers silhouetted against an apocalyptic sky conjure up otherworldly sci-fi landscapes. Her eye is alive to the possibilities of this careworn neighborhood: sneakers dangle forlornly from telephone lines, a lamp post casts a respectful nod toward an abandoned warehouse, and a solo snaggle-branched tree commands the canvas with as much aplomb as a giant redwood.
Brown smartly takes a few cues from art history. If her paintings call to mind the romantic skies of Caspar David Friedrich, for example, her drawings take us to a different place of sturdy geometries and stark contrasts of black and white, almost Bauhaus in their orderliness. Brown has a talent for balancing beauty and blight, nature and the unnatural, the pretty and the crude. And it’s all right here in Bushwick—all we need is the artist’s eye to celebrate its eccentric beauty."
Contributing Editor, ARTnews