REEL 2 REAL: THE ART OF JESSICA BROWN
MAY 16 – JULY 25, 2021
Exhibit Sponsors: Toni Smith |
Members’ Preview Reception: Saturday, May 15 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Preview Reception Admission: $5.00 | Cedarhurst Members – free
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT:
Jessica Brown grew up watching and learning from TV. “Growing up I was a TV kid and obsessed with Nick at Nite and all things vintage. I viewed my life through the lens of the TV screen.” [All quotes by the artist.]
Like most of us, young Jessica bought into the American Dream of a perfect life. And like most of us, realized that dream is partial at best, but for her, realized “that story wasn’t for me.” Life as an African American woman in America is vastly different. “I grew weary of seeing people that look like me laying dead on the nightly news.”
Jessica Brown would become an artist who is conversant in a variety of art languages and consequently able to express her desires for social justice to a wide variety of audiences.
The art of Jessica Brown probes the issues of social justice with subtlety and a sense of humor. Among her many topics, she emphasizes how black actors were denied lead roles in TV or film. Brown playfully inserts herself into these cinematic realms, for example, teaming up with the Get Smart actor Don Adams or appropriating the 1950s cool style of James Dean on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket. Above all is Brown’s high-functioning aesthetic sensibility which embraces semiotics, music, sculpture (Brown worked at Hasbro as a toy designer for five years), academic scholarship, cultural commentary, performance art, as well as being an organizer for community events.
“Social justice topics can be hard to discuss and make many people uncomfortable.” “By using these familiar images from TV and advertising, memes, and pop culture, I am using these objects as anchor points to create moments of connection.”
Jessica Brown is an assistant professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Learn more at theladyjbrown.com.