Drawing has always been at the core for me, whether in paint, graphite, collage, or ink. I began as an artist with a background in fabric arts. To me, the transition from using thread to creating lines with a pen or pencil seem a natural outgrowth of that history. I see the works as being on the borderline of drawing, knitting, weaving and writing. I’ve become especially interested lately in ancient writing systems such as Egyptian scripts and Buddhist texts and have been moved by the Dreaming paintings of the aboriginal Australians and by the textile paintings of African art on cloth and bark.
Recently, I’ve been working with India ink and a nib pen, drawing the lines continuously and mindfully. I lean toward the absence of control while keeping in contact with the subconscious. I begin with layering and using gel to attach recycled papers, envelopes, and old posters. This creates a subtle texture and a sense of time. The papers are not laid down as a grid, but haphazardly, so I am working with lines going in different directions. Sometimes I draw with my non-dominant hand, or cover the previous work on the canvas so that I can’t see what I’ve already done. The form that emerges from many hours of this often surprises me.
I invite viewers to discover the unexpected, honor the moment, and the infinite power of time.
- Claire Browne, November 2018
The attic of our old house in Pittsburgh, filled with the various bits of debris and forgotten objects, traces the beginning of what I now realize was my art making. There were buttons and bottles and shreds of paper, broken toys, tattered old doilies – these I formed and reformed until a piece satisfied me.
I was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and raised in Pittsburgh. As an adult, I moved to Wiesbaden, Germany, and traveled around Europe to the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, and France. Inspired by the continent’s art, architecture, and textiles, I returned to the U.S. and enrolled at Claremont Graduate University in California to pursue an art degree.
I remained in Los Angeles after completing my degree, enjoying the cultural diversity and unconventional lifestyles. In 2000, I began to exhibit at Newspace Gallery. At that time my artwork was strongly influenced by the vast sky I could see from my California hillside home, and by frequent visits to Joshua Tree, California.
In 2009, I moved to Portland, where I enjoy living near the waterfront—the morning mist over the river, the skies at night and the view across the water to the east. I am still a frequent visitor to Joshua Tree. I’m inspired by the endless, arid landscape of desert wildflowers and Joshua Trees, and the visible stars that alter space and time. I work in Portland in a large, old brick building where my studio looks out on the city. The contrast between the city of Portland and the serene desert allows me to see each with renewed eyes.
I have had solo exhibitions at Newspace Gallery, Los Angeles; AndrewShire Gallery, Los Angeles; Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Claremont, California; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, California; and other galleries throughout the West coast. My work has been included in the Pacific Coast edition of New American Painting, and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, Artscene, and Artweek, among others. I have been an adjunct instructor at UCLA, Santa Monica College, University of LaVerne, and Chaffey College.
one and two person exhibitions
2019 “Untitled” Guardino Gallery, Portland OR
2005 "The Box Show" Davis and Kline Galleries, Ashland, OR
2004 "Mind Time" Newspace, Los Angeles, CA
2002 "Unknown" Newspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1992 "Interior Fragments" San Bernardino Valley College Gallery, San Bernardino, CA
1991 "Huts Boxes Dwellings" DA Gallery, Pomona, CA
1983 "New Paintings" Riverside Art Museum/Gallery, Riverside, CA
1982 "Recent Work on Paper" Claremont Graduate University Gallery, Claremont, CA
“Abstract Catalyst 5” Gillia Gallery, Portland, OR
“Blackout” Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA
"Holiday Exibition" Ford Gallery, Portland, OR
2016 "Visions and Revisions: A Five-Year Conversation" Jeffery Thomas Fine Arts, Portland, OR
2014 "4x4" Rochester Arts Center, Rochester, NY
2012 "Gallery Artists" Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2006 "Good to Go" Newspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2003 "New Works" Andrewshire Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2002 "In the Mind's Eye: Intersections of Art and Science" Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
1995 "Spare (P)art" SITE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1994 "Get Back" Claremont Graduate School Alumni Exhibition, Claremont Graduate School Galleries, Claremont, CA
"Best Foot Forward" The Drawing Room Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
"Double Vision" Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA
"Unification: Cultures in Collusion" FHP Hippodrome Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (Juror: Artist Betye Saar)
"In Site - Out of Site" Platt Gallery, University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA
"Black and White" Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA
"San Bernardino County Art Faculty Exhibition" San Bernardino College Gallery, San Bernardion, CA
Art Faculty Exhibition, Norman F. Feldheym Galleries, San Bernardino, CA
1991 "Cycles" Brand Library and Art Gallery, Glendale, CA
1989 "Kern County Artists" Bakersfield Art Gallery, Bakersfield, CA
Ohlman, Leah "Bursting with Youthful Energy," Los Angeles Times.
Brumer, Andy, Artscene, Volume 23, No. 8.
2002 "New American Paintings, Volume 43," Open Studios Press, Boston, MA.
MacNaughton, Mary, "In the Mind's Sky: Intersections of Art and Science," Ruth Chandler WIlliamson Gallery, ScrippsCollege, Exhibition Essay.
Calder, Diane, "Intersections of Art and Science," Artscene, Vol. 20, No. 1.
Muchnic, Suzanne, "Inspired Leaps from the Lab to the Studio," LA Times Calendar, August 27.
Krupnick, Matt, "Combining Art and Science," Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, August 26.
Vayda, Priscilla, ArtScape, Cheers!
Kapitanoff, Nancy, "Sharing Life's Crosses," Los Angeles Times, Valley Edition, July 2.
Roth, Charlene, "Choreographing Change," Artweek, June 17.
1989 Heredia, Rick, "Art Takes Varying Shapes," Bakersfield Californian, April 19.
1983 Simon, Hazel, "Painted Paper Created to Fit Gallery," Riverside Press-Enterprise.
2016 Panel Discussions, Jeffrey Thomas Fine Arts, Portland, OR
2000 Artist Lecture, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
1995 Visiting Artist Lecture, California Institute for Women, Chino, CA
1994 Visiting Artist Lecture, Metropolitan State Hospital, Norwalk, CA
1992 Visiting Artist Lecture on "Interior Fragments" Exhibition, San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino, CA
1988 Printmaking Workshop, Bakersfield, CA
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, Master of Fine Arts
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, Bachelor of Fine Arts in English Literature
California Sate University, Los Angeles, CA, Master of Teaching English as a Second Language
bursting with youthful energy
Claire Browne’s enchanting new works at the Newspace Gallery exude vitality - youthful vitality coming from a mature artist. Browne, who lives in L.A., received a bachelor’s in English and earned a master of fine arts from the Claremont Graduate School. Her drawings on canvas (“ drawn paintings” according to the press release) feel fresh and alive, charmingly casual yet thoughtful
There’s some playful friction right from the start in Browne’s choice of media. She draws in pencil on gessoed canvas, sort of a T-shirt and tux combination, the informal doodle sprawled over the formally prepared surface. Her marks are simple circles, outlined, filled in and often with a smaller dot within. Some are as small as the head of a pin and others the size of a fingerprint. They cluster and form chains, seemingly organically accreting into the dense, vibrant fields that often extend over the edges and onto the sides of the canvases.
The markings pulse with energy at once microcosmic and macrocosmic. The images read equally well as either multiplying cells or celestial phenomena - or as neither, but rather as pure pattern and motion and color. The larger works (4 to 5 feet per side) are particularly radiant. “Crown,” drawn in warm orange, pale pink, fuchsia and gray, gives the impression of a diaphanous blossom - perhaps the aurora borealis, perhaps the luminous veins of a jellyfish. “Ring” presents a garland of golden circles laced in pink framed by a broader, irregular border of dots. Against the neutral, bright white surface, Browne’s patterns float freely, unencumbered by definition, gravity, context. They hint of transcendent nature, in the way the luminous paintings of Sharon Ellis do, through the physical immediacy of extravagant beauty.
Los Angeles Times
center's exhibit of painted paper created to fit gallery
The Alliance Gallery at the Riverside Art Center has a show especially designed for the gallery by Claire Zondervan Browne. She has created large works of painted paper, with each piece related to the space in which it is displayed, using the architectural members of the gallery as framing for the works.
This is another show in which the mixture of mediums makes necessary to describe the works. They are woven of large flat loop shapes of torn paper, much over painted with acrylic in intricate patterns of color, mounted flat to the wall. Each is a study in a particular section of colors and brush patterns, and they all make canny use of the white wall spaces showing through the constructions.
Claire Browne has a background in weaving and fiber arts, and the forms of the works come from that background. She thinks of the elements other works as threads, and the papers are actually interwoven. The overpainting, which in some of the works creates an illusion of three dimensionality, she realtes to pattern paintings, and each work is a study in conflicts or contrasts of color, which are dissonances to be resolved.
This is all undoubtedly there but it is concealed from the viewer behind the vivid colors and spontaneity of effect of the works, and behind the unusual nature of the display. All of these have their whack at the viewer before he can get down to thinking of design and intent.
Viewed as abstract eye patterns, most of the works move very well, but there are spots where the eye bumps to a halt, not seeing at once where the line continues.
This, too, is a dissonance to be resolved, perhaps necessary to avoid having a series of smooth running loops like a handwriting exercise.
Claire Browne is currently teaching fiber arts at Chaffey College, and arts and crafts for teachers at La Verne College. Her show is at the Art Center, 3425 Seventh St., until May 7. Gallery Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
claire browne at the newspace gallery
“Drawing,” Paul Klee once declared, “is the probability of art,” revealing his belief that - at least for him - drawing’s immediacy represented a method and means of exploring his inner world. The fifteen color pencil drawings executed on gessoed canvas that comprise Claire Browne’s exhibition titled Mind Time both elevate and celebrate drawing as an end in itself. Perhaps more importantly, the title points to ward a Bergsonian value of subjectivity (French Nobel laureate Henri Bergson (1859-1941) memorably argued that intuition is deeper than intellect - Ed). Here the structured and linear pacing of the clock and calendar, however rhythmic, give way to a more quantum driven and quirky experience of time as something abstract, erratic, unpredictable, sometimes circular and always metaphorical. Expressions such as “time stood still,” “the hours flew by,” or, “the movie dragged on,” reveal the artist’s assertion that Mind Time is not something academic or esoteric, but simply how people feel their existence most of their lives.
Yet Browne’s work does more than explore time as its subject matter. It employs it as its modus operandi, capable of transporting the artist into a new dimension. Consider the following excerpt prepared by the gallery:
After gesso is applied to canvas, Claire Browne vacates her mind. From her studio she can see the city. She can watch sunlight and particles as she draws her response on the prepared canvas. Her circles, hand drawn, are fields of energy… Her circles become a language, an alphabet, a mind bridge to sensing and finally knowing, the inner invisible…
Indeed, but Browne’s self-induced and active daydreaming also produces extremely lovely and sensitive work that longs to be looked at. Each piece, which the artist designates with elemental and archetypal names, such as Shadow, Ring, Crown, and Lotus, presents amorphous groupings of doodled circles that both facilitate and welcome easy associations. Some suggest the random playfulness of irregularly shaped blood cells when viewed under a microscope, or cosmic balloons stars, like the Aurora Borealis seen through psychedelic rose colored glasses. In other places these overflowing spheres coagulate into ecstatic bunches of dionysian grapes. Or the more soothing ripples of water in the Japanese master Haikuist Basho’s pond after the frog jumps in, with the timelessly existential sound translators have settled on: “Plop!”
One is tempted to relate these intuitively drawn circles to mandalas, which springing from the unconscious symbolize the effort of a suffering psyche and soul to achieve balance and reformulate wholeness. However, with tis explicit zeroing out of both foreground and background, Browne’s work feels free of the jagged feelings of angst or even edginess. Rather it points in equal measure to the Impressionists’ interest in how light shimmers and dances off of objects, and to the Surrealist’s protean theatre, where the life of the mind and time itself stand as two actors in a never ending play.
Claire Browne draws vast clusters of symbiotic circles and marks, drawings on canvas, paper, and wood. Working from intuition and an innate desire to explore the unknown, Browne creates work suggesting macro and microcosms – fragments of strokes expanding or contracting between intersections of art and nature, not unlike creating with household string. Her vocabulary consists of about ten motifs that she incorporates into each drawing, creating either a network or disconnect between the forms.
Joni Gordon, Director
"Browne's perceptions and consciousness are found in her instinctive trackless marks. Her space is inhabited by successive spheres in abandoned patterns which reflect a history informed by the likes of artists such as Agnes Martin, Vija Celmins, and Louise Bourgeois. These ink drawn paintings reflect patterns of the natural world which materialize within an artist's unconsciousness."
Joni Gordon, Director