j.m.brown      

Andover, NY  14806            

www.jerrymbrown.com       

tirmannin@yahoo.com

 Artist Statement

 Medieval art, especially Insular illuminated manuscript art, has been an ongoing fascination for me, and a source of great inspiration.  This collection of work is a result of studies of historic manuscript (book) art.  Some of the pieces focus on a fragment of a page which I’ve isolated and enlarged, often changing the scale from a few inches to several feet.  By enlarging a tiny section I hope to bring greater attention to the original’s minute detail, color, textures, and peculiarities that might otherwise be overlooked.  At the same time, while I am accurately ‘drawing’ from the source material, the piece is developing spontaneously as far as technique, specific color, and nuance.  In other words, while I am true to the original in many ways, I am not a slave to it.  I try to maintain its spirit, while bringing a modern edge to the piece.  History informs what intuition shapes.

Some of the work is created with no direct visual connection to any historic reference.  These works explore my fascination with abstraction, pattern, calligraphy and subtle playfulness.  The rhythm of the calligraphy and the interplay of words and image are influenced by medieval book art in general.  The strong, simple outlines and subtle but intense color usage also derive from my manuscript studies.  In all of the work, the text serves primarily as an aesthetic, not literal, element. 

Each series, consisting of multiple works in a range of different media, are grouped around specific themes (most recently, ‘people’).  Regardless of theme, my methodology is consistent, even though I use a variety of materials and processes in each project.  I use traditional calligraphy pens, inks, and brushes, as well as modern tools, like painting knives.  Subject matter and recurring formal concerns link the different pieces although there may not always be material similarities between the different projects.  In this most recent group of pieces I have used watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, colored pencil, ink, and egg tempera on such surfaces as canvas, panel, paper, vellum, and wood.  The materials and the forms of the work are determined by the subject matter of each work.  During research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work.

Most pieces are framed by myself, in a one-of-a-kind, piece-specific frame.  Some of the frames have a curved face to mimic the curve of an open book page.  The frame serves as an integral part of the total work, much like a cover for a book.

Overall, I view my work as an unfinished inventory of fragments:  fragments of the past brought to the present, fragments of the present influenced by the past, and fragments of timeless imagination.