A very healthy crowd gathered at Naked Lunch recently to celebrate the showing of local artist Esme Grace Brown’s new collection of paintings, and it was an evening that succeeded on two fronts. Firstly it highlighted that despite the lure of the ubiquitous complimentary drink on arrival, a very healthy interest in painting as an art form exists locally. And secondly, the talent is out there to support such an interest. Esme Grace Brown affirms this second proposition. Her art is both visually alluring, and philosophically thought-provoking.
The pieces reminded me of all the best bits that were contained within the works of the likes of Gary Hume, Canada’s The Royal Art Lodge, Warhol and certain Stuckist artists, particular Charles Thompson. Some aspects of her Art are quite playful; “Plastic Bag” is a naïve rendition of a Lidl shopping bag, with pleasing form and palette, which teases the observer of the relationship between art and commerce. But in other works she hints at darker themes, perhaps personal. “Sertraline” bears witness to the medication that helps her, and others be a little less anxious about modern life.
The juxtaposition of the dosage and the back drop of the humdrum cheese plants is especially successful. “Vicious”, “I’m A Baby”, and “I Hate Myself” are all part of her Confessional Balloon series, which again succinctly statements how 21st Century modernity can affect anyone of us at any time. Esme Grace Brown exhibits a punk, DIY attitude to her work: no frills – the visual point is quickly made. However her intellectual approach that lays within the work lingers, and is thought provoking.
As the evening wore on, the number of “sold tags” quickly accelerated until they were hanging from every exhibited piece, a kind of financial validation of her work. Esme Grace Brown is at the start of what could prove to be a long and interesting career, and is certainly an artist to keep an eye on. Heck, I’ve even commissioned her to produce a work for myself, one that addresses my own personal situation. And that’s a first.
Art as Truth.