WRITTEN BY Virginia Blanton
A reception for Mandy Brown’s artistry is a meta event; crowds filter through Parker Gallery’s entrance to ponder the brushstrokes of fictional crowds on canvases. Political crowds, sporting, rowdy crowds, fashion forward crowds. Her vignettes capture the shared experience of adding up to something greater in a setting and finding solace in camaraderie.
The Mint Museum of Charlotte selected the Nashville-based artist for their 80×80 showcase back in 2016, commemorating the Mint Museum’s 80th anniversary. By drizzling paint like she’s drawing, off a brush or her fingertips, Brown contours facial features and limbs to craft intimate, acrylic installations.
She focuses on collective and individual identity through crowds. The interconnecting, monochromatic lines of her pieces are striking yet not overpowering. Devoid of focal points, the eye can travel organically across the plane, playing a game of “I Spy,” attaching to details that have to be sought after. She treats each work as a painting and drawing.
Inspiration finds her while meandering markets and amidst the background of films. Instead of painting the main event that is being attended, she pivots to the characters present, bound by a common interest or ideology.
With her buoyant, calming energy, she tells me, “A whole made up of individual components has always been an interesting idea for me, whether it be a forest of trees or molecular structure. Among these pieces are works that highlight underlying patterns and structures, emergent or fictional. Searching for pattern in complexity is a way of processing the chaotic and unfamiliar; sometimes finding underlying rhythms, sometimes creating fictional structures.”
There is an osmotic quality associated with being included in a crowd. Movement is fluid as molecules of people exit and enter excitedly. Identities are differentiated by chemical makeup, no two the same.
Artists and creatives try to squeeze through the selective membrane of “making it”, in attempts to have their name remembered. Mandy Brown’s impressionable style maneuvers through fellow artists with ease. She has her own crowds to be caught up in. Her attentiveness to pattern and human expression curates a body of work spotlighting the power of unity.