Glenn Brown is one of the most revered painters of his generation, this exhibition brings together the largest selection of the artist’s work to date. Brown borrows from art history and popular culture, working from the images of Dalí, Auerbach, Rembrandt, science fiction illustrators and many others to investigate the languages of painting and how images are read by the viewer. Brown is fascinated by how reproductions of paintings distort the qualities of their originals. Size, colour, surface texture and brushwork are elements by which original works are transformed from the familiar into the alien. Working from books or projecting reproductions onto a blank picture surface, Brown wildly embellishes his source material. Naturalistic colour becomes putrid or kitsch, figures are elongated or enlarged into the grotesque and heavy impasto, although painstakingly copied, is rendered entirely flat.
The exhibition, curated by Francesco Bonami and Laurence Sillars and organized in collaboration with TATE Liverpool, includes over sixty paintings, sculpture and several new works and it is arranged to reveal the artist’s diverse painterly strategies and preoccupations. Rooms will be dedicated to the artist’s obsessive and meticulous copying of brushwork with works including You never touch my skin in the way you did, and you’ve even changed the way you kiss me (1994) and Telstar (1995). His relentless appropriation of Auerbach, returning to the same work again and again in order to transform the head of a figure is realised in works such as Kill the Poor (2000) and The Real Thing (2000). Further rooms will reflect Brown’s playful use of kitsch and the sublime, through which the artist radically displaces familiar works by Dalí, Fragonard and John Martin. Brown’s perceptive processes will also be explored. Often placing formal and aesthetic concerns over original subject matter and meaning, details from well known-works are isolated, manipulated, becoming subject matters in themselves.
Glenn Brown was born in Hexham in 1966. From 1984 to 1992 he studied at Norwich School of Art, the Bath College of Higher Education and then trained at Goldsmith’s College. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2000.
Tate Gallery, Liverpool
20 February - 10 May 2009