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“I think of my work as being about queer community and chosen family. I’m not trying to represent any broader “queer community” – just my specific queer community of friends.”

"Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking. The source of my practice is the world with all its beauty and confusion – nature, so alien and alluring, the social, equally baffling but no less wonderful, and the uncomfortable friction between that, and our internal interpretations. Life eludes easy understanding or conclusion: what are we seeing when we really think about it and how did we miss it before?"

"A little less than two years ago, I began the 451-piece Myriorama series. A myriorama, according to the Huntington Museum, is a toy from the 1820’s: …the myriorama—whose name was derived from the Greek words myrias, meaning “multitude,” and orama, meaning “scene” or “view.” A myriorama comprised a set of illustrated cards, each representing a slice of a landscape. No matter what order you placed them in, the cards created a cohesive scene. I played with one as an infant. Fun! I figured I could do this abstractly."

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"I persuaded Minneapolis’ Veronique Wantz Gallery to exhibit the series: the 12 x 12 panels covered every inch of their walls, they were arranged randomly per order and orientation, affixed with Velcro so that visitors could rearrange the gallery, which they did."

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"Thus we had a “meta” artwork installation, thus the original creator is “de”privileged, time and its passage compressed, meaning modified. Again, fun! What of the making? One thing led to another. Sometimes my blood was hot with possibilities – theme and variation and whatever I noticed. Assaulting the surface with feather, bones, newsprint, maps, palette plastic, transgressing the picture plane: new materials, new tools (becoming intimate with box cutters), new techniques for me."

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"Sometimes harking back to line, luminance, chrominance, massing and armature: the well-trodden vocabulary of the abstract academy. My mind was a magpie.  Why 451? Fahrenheit 451: art as warning – banning books, which we do here, now, is the step before banning people."

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Owen Brown was born in Chicago, trained as a classical musician, took his first art class at 23, and much of what he’s wanted to do since then has been paint.  He holds degrees from Yale College and the University of Chicago, and was a degree student at California College of the Arts. He lived for over 30 years in San Francisco, where he was represented by Meridian Gallery. He now lives in Minneapolis. Brown has exhibited in juried shows and solo exhibits throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. His works have been acquired by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Nature Conservancy, the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Chicago and the Weisman Museum of Minneapolis, and can be found in collections in this country, Europe, and Asia. Brown has had residencies at Air Le Parc in France, and at the Land Institute in Kansas, where he created his first installation: “Units of Measure.”  He is represented nationally by Holly Hunt, he shows regionally at Veronique Wantz and Grand Hand, and has collaborated with artists of other disciplines, such as Emily Wolahan and Jason Lord.

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His art has been reviewed or published widely. Meridian Gallery Press published a monograph of Brown’s work for the opening of his show “Ideasthesia,” Veronique Wantz Gallery published a monograph of his work for the opening of his show “Myriorama.” His work was also included in the Society for Art Publications of the America’s final publication: “Trees of the Field.” He was an invitee at Art Prize Nine and invited to show at the COVID-cancelled 2020 Kochi Biennale, in Kochi, India. Instagram Website Facebook

Owen Brown
Selections from the Myriorama Series

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