[Deborah Brown. Image courtesy of the artist]
A Postmodernist in Fairyland
Plastic artist Deborah Brown has revealed a fresh crop of creations at her sculpture farm just outside London in St. Albans, England. Falling somewhere between the whimsical, the quizzical, the inoffensively mocking and the slightly unsettling, Brown’s fantastic animal-vegetable, animal-human, and vegetable-human hybrids suggest figures populating a fairyland set borrowed from a mutant’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
[Deborah Brown, “Mushroom with Goat Horns, Ears and Goatee,” 2008. Image courtesy of the artist]
[Deborah Brown, “Beetle,” 2008. Image courtesy of the artist]
Brown’s deceptively playful creations, which have been coyly described as “misfit toys,” perpetuate the artist’s ongoing narrative about human vanity, fatal fascination with glamour, and susceptibility to the seductions of the ego in an era of transgressive genetic engineering, twisted spiritual evolution, and nature denatured. A human baby in a bird’s nest; a seven-foot-tall, fiberglass mushroom with goat’s horns and pig’s snout or a gigantic stag beetle replica with platinum blonde locks billowing from its shiny, black case — superficial resemblances of Brown’s subtle inventions to the work of other masters of the incongruous, such as Magritte, should not distract from the allegorical message they convey — that man’s desire to subjugate nature has backfired to produce a life out of balance, a world gone awry.
California transplant Brown contentedly continues to carry out her mission of cultivating these curious sculptural cross-breeds in the serenity of her St. Albans retreat, where she gardens, forages in town for raw materials for her eldritch assemblages and has begun to install hives on her property in anticipation of keeping bees.
For more of her work, visit deborahbrown.org.MySpace Art Chat