American painter Dana Brown sees the beauty in rough, unlovely things. Her paintings of farm equipment and train and boat parts make them lovely to us, too. Maybe it’s because I live on a bay and have a mild obsession with all things salt water related, but her paintings, even those that don’t have any hit of water in them, feel to me like they’re water adjacent. There’s something about the light and colors in her work that make me feel like the air must smell of salt spray. I guess that’s the magical thing about art. We all bring our own experiences and references to it.
I think Brown’s choice of medium probably has a great deal to do with how rusty and gritty and real her paintings feel. She works in casein and encaustic, very tricky materials which I had to look up. Casein is derived from milk proteins and looks a little like watercolor, and encaustic paint is a beeswax paint that when applied hot, has a translucent quality. Her skill with those complicated media gives her subjects a majestic depth and look of age and wear I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere.
All images property of Dana Brown.