The Riverside Art Museum is proud to continue an ongoing series of mini-exhibition features highlighting artist-members who have received awards in previous Members’ Exhibitions. John Brownfield was one of three Honorable Mention award winners back in 2014.
As a young artist I worked spontaneously. I was in grad school at Chicago Art Institute when a figurative painter was hard to find in my native Chicago. Gestural abstraction was the big thing. I went with the gestural part, but never purged the figure from my work. I just couldn’t. I was happiest in the life-drawing studio. And drawing from life remains an activity that I enjoy most of all. It is direct, always challenging, and this is where I get that spontaneous thing going. As for more complex projects, the older I get the more slowly I work. Now I plod along less with brush in hand than butt in the Thinking Chair. It can sometimes take me years to find the resolution for a painting. Some works look loose and spontaneous, but they happen only over periods of downtime consideration and bursts of execution. Of course some pictures have a very focused presence or feel. The challenge is to keep the execution fresh and not overworked. Some may be “over thought”, but hopefully not overworked.