Carolyn Brady

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Stourhead Across the Lake with Dark Water (III), 1997 Monotype 40 X 60 1/2 In
Carolyn Brady

520 W. 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
December 1st, 2007 - January 9th, 2008

212 966 6676
Tue-Sat 10-6

For the first time, Brady’s commitment to the monotype (as her preferred mode of print making) becomes clear in this exhibit. Never before shown, these works span fifteen years. During this time Brady created several series, sometimes named for the studio in which she worked, such as Tamarind Still Life, Island Studio, and Mill Road, at others named for the subject of the series such as English Gardens, Longwood (Gardens), and Les Fleurs--images of flowers in French gardens. The monotypes range in scale from 20x30 inches up to 40x60 inches. Brady’s monotypes have a life of their own, more expressive and impressionistic than her carefully rendered watercolors, on which she worked for several months at a time.

The media are different, each demanding in its own way; when Brady painted in watercolor she kept the brush dry so that the paint was immediately absorbed into the paper, using what she called “bits of paint” to create an image. The rigors of the monotype process required the artist to paint with ink on a metal plate, and complete the image within a day so that the plate could then be run through the press with the ink still wet. The “painting” the artist created on the plate was imbedded on the paper in reverse when being run through the press, thus the left side appeared on the right side of the finished monotype.

The most muscular of her monotypes are the English Garden series, measuring 40x60 inches, dating from 1997. The athletic feat of accomplishing (in fewer than twelve hours) a complex tapestry of nature filled with a riot of green grasses, hedges, topiaries and trees, along with color-filled flowers, fountains and gateways, presented the artist with a Herculean challenge. In the monotypes, Brady offers the viewer a rigorously observed, sensually rendered tour of life’s pulse as manifest in the gardener’s formal design, executed with staccato bits of printer’s ink about an inch in length traversing the surface of the paper.

In her 1999 Tamarind still life monotypes, Brady’s gesture is broader, more abstract, more fluid, depicting still lifes from her summer home in Maine, café tabletops from visits to France, and her home in Baltimore. Flowers, dishes, glasses, bottles of Evian or Vittel are washes of color, confident notes across the paper. Packed with the energy of an abstract expressionist work, these still lifes offer the viewer an alternative vista into one of the artist’s favorite subjects.
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