To visit David Brown’s studio is to slip through the looking glass into a magical space where ideas and observation blend, becoming something marvelous and new in the process.
From small drawings to large canvases, his imagery presents itself with a cohesive authority, resonating at once a childlike joy and an engineer’s exactitude. The encaustic paintings are the precognitive dreams of 20th century abstract expressionism: sharp-edged geometric shapes and lines float above translucent fields of gestural scribbles, as if the artist’s conscious thoughts are clouds scudding above the surface of a boiling subconscious sea.
The monumental work is displayed alongside small collections of found items, from delicate crystals and battered pieces of wood to the wound-up innards of a baseball. These are sacred objects, and pair perfectly with the paintings which become stained-glass windows to an invisible temple of the mind.
Brown is an alchemist in the classical sense, using the furnace of the imagination to create gold from the humblest of materials. He invites us to share his secrets, even if he refrains from telling us exactly what they are.
Aaron Leighton, 2017
About David Brown
A leading figure in Toronto’s creative community, David’s abstract encaustic paintings have been shown at galleries and museums across North America. His paintings are held in private and corporate collections in Canada, U.S., Europe and Asia. David has won awards in the art and design industry. In 1996 Toronto’s Design Exchange honored David’s work in “Type Culture”, an exhibition of top designers chosen for their pivotal influence on Canadian Typography. A graduate from the Ontario College for Art and Design (AOCA 1992), he was an Industrial Design faculty member from 1996 to 2006 and also operated a highly successful product design studio. The products he designed have been sold across North America, and his work has been published in books and magazines throughout Canada and the United States. His Downtown Toronto studio is located in the Lansdowne and Dupont artistic precinct.
I approach the act of painting like a builder, using wax, spray paint, and print techniques to construct a multi-layered, multi-sensory experience. I am interested in observing, collecting and reflecting the visual cacophony of metropolitan life.
Encaustic paint has become an integral part of my process. Bees wax is an organic material with a strong personality. The range of qualities, surfaces and textures it can yield is unmatched by any other painting material. The wax and I have formed a partnership, it tells me where and how to proceed as I guide and tease the molten medium.
In my paintings, layers of wax are painstakingly piled on top of acrylic washes, oil, and spray paints. Surface depth accumulates by weaving organic and geometric shapes, rendered in positive and negative form, through different levels. The final result is a thin sculpture with fragments of long forgotten messages resonating through.
I think of my work as internalized landscapes that reflect the experience of living in Canada’s largest urban center — an encapsulation of all the daily sensory bombardments of the city. I strive to represent time and space, sight and sound, in a quiet loudness.