Phil Brown, a local artist known for his paintings of the Yuba River and surrounding areas, will be featured in a solo art exhibit at the Haldan Gallery, Lake Tahoe Community College (1 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe), Oct. 3 through Dec. 6. The opening reception will be at the Haldan Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 and will feature Brown speaking about his work.
The show, “Remnants of a Disappearing Layer,” features 40 pieces of Brown’s artwork of the Yuba River painted from 1999 through 2013.
The show is an assemblage of current paintings as well as former works. More than half are from collections of local owners. Paintings, many in large formats, feature local spots such as Kneebone Beach, the Buttermilk Trail, Edwards Crossing, below China Dam, views from the Highway 49 bridge, the South Yuba below Lang’s Crossing, the Lower Yuba, habitat zones along the river’s edges and studies of the river’s spectacular rocks. Brown’s most recent work features swimmers under water. Included are works done in oils, acrylics and pastels and sometimes a mix of all three. While several pieces are done on site (plein air), primarily, Brown works in his studio from thousands of photographs he has taken while trekking and fishing the river canyons.
Brown holds a degree in art and art history from the University of California at Davis and a master’s in fine arts from Mills College. He has received numerous awards for his work and teaching, including the Trefethen Award from the Mills College Art Department and Teacher of the Year during his 10 years at Sierra College, Nevada County Campus. A painting of Edwards Crossing was in the Art in Embassies Program in Uganda. His work has been in the Crocker Art Biennial in Sacramento, the Berkeley Art Center National Juried Shows, the Memphis College of Art, the Ansel Adams Gallery in San Francisco and the California State Fair.
“I was originally trained as a conceptual or installation artist — landscape paintings were always forbidden: not worth pursuing. But after two decades of living above the river canyon, I simply couldn’t resist,” Brown said. “I was also increasingly appalled by the accelerating damage we were causing to the larger landscape, as well as the number of people who moved here and had no idea of the existence of the river canyons or how spectacular they are. I first decided to focus on simply painting beautiful images of where we live in an effort to give them voice and a positive value. Lately, I’ve been returning to previous painting techniques (larger, more active brush strokes) and have also made changes in subject matter (paintings of clear cuts, slash piles and disappearing habitat zones) to express disbelief at how poorly we continue to treat the place we live.”
The Haldan Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fridays (The gallery is closed on weekends).
Brown shows his original work, prints and cards at the Mowen Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City as well as at the Artist Studios of the Foothills in Grass Valley. He teaches pastels, oils, and acrylics at AS IF. He will take part in the 2013 Studio Tour, the first two weekends in October.