Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Jasmine Brown Collaboration

Jasmine Iona Brown and Jazz Brown at Tacoma’s 950 Gallery
by Alec Clayton
"White Man's Burden" painting by Jasmine Brown. All photos courtesy 950 Gallery.
950 Gallery will be open only one more day for the run of this collaborative exhibition of works by Jasmine Iona Brown and Jazz Brown. The gallery is open Thursdays only and by appointment. Thursday, August 15 is the last day for the show, and there will be a closing reception for the artists that night from 5 to 8.
sculpture by Jasmine Brown

painting by Jazz Brown

Jasmine Brown is known for her paintings, photography, illustrations and works in many other media incorporating poetry, symbols, landscape, much of it inspired by international travel, African masks, voodoo textiles, Native American and Black American cultures. In this show there is a little bit of everything. Portraiture is incorporated into most of her works.

Her technique is varied and inconsistent. Some of the painting and drawing looks less than refined, but that clearly does not come from lack of skill, as evidenced by other works that display competence in drawing and in the use of color and form—meaning those works that might appear clumsy in execution are done so for emotional impact. For example, on one wall there are adjacent portrait paintings, one of a woman surrounded by a field of abstract forms and symbols and the other a portrait of a man surrounded by words. The former looks almost primitive and untutored in execution, and the latter is beautifully rendered with skilled paint application. The latter is titled “White Man’s Burden.” The words and phrases written on the canvas are racially and politically inciteful: phrases such as “Eat like Dahmer, explode like McVey” and “too many blacks driving big Cadillacs.”

On pedestals along the adjacent wall stand four small wood sculptures that look like African figures from an earlier era combined with collages of faces and other imagery that is highly distorted and clearly more modern than the carved figures. This combination of carved figures and odd collages is stirring and exciting, and the dark wood pedestals they stand on, donated to 950 by Museum of Glass, match the figures in color and texture as if made as part of the sculptural work.  
"Psycho-logical Path," acrylic on panel by Jazz Brown
From Jazz Brown presents  a group of 14 acrylic paintings inspired by both minimalism and bebop jazz. Think of Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie” but with interlocking circular shapes instead of square grids. Many of them use white or high-value paint that look icy cold and shimmering as laid over darker colors. Following the circular shapes in these colorful paintings is like riding a roller coaster. Also showing among these is a group of small paintings with more solid color areas and stronger contrasts that Jazz Brown   created by painting paper and then cutting shapes and gluing them on wood panels. The push-pull of the interwoven shapes is great, and they are so skillfully done that only upon very close inspection is it possible to tell the shapes are not painted directly on the surface, thus creating sharper edges and enhancing the shapes and colors. 
If you attend the closing reception at 950 Gallery you will be glad you did.

950 Gallery950 Gallery, 950 Pacific Ave. Suite 205, Tacoma, 253.627.2175,

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