Artist Interview: Margaret Zox Brown
Intriguing: to make somebody greatly interested or curious.
An intrigue grows as I look at the paintings by artist Margaret Zox Brown. What is it that draws your eye to these colorful paintings? As you closely and continuously explore these works of art, which lie between representation and abstraction, trying to find the reason. Then, you find it! But it’s not on the canvas-it’s inside you, the feeling of the painting.
I met with the colorist painter Margaret Zox Brown to discuss her process more in depth. I wanted to better understand how she got so much feeling into her work. “All my paintings come from drawings,” she told me, and only when a drawing has a good shape or “journey” does she turn it into a painting. Brown never paints on a white canvas. She always does a wash of colors first that sets the mood for the piece. “The color comes from within me,” she explains. The background wash inspires her in term of color and shape for the remainder of the painting. In Brown’s fruit series she adds drips on the canvas called Spoon and Berries to describe the “sensuality of the fruit.” When viewing the painting you sense that and more. As you read through the piece, inside, you feel all the emotion it has to express. And every time you look, there is something new to discover.
Brown’s artwork has n0t always been so expressive. Her earlier paintings, in which she calls her “naive work,” is flat when it comes to emotion and is hard to relate to. Not until a teacher’s influence and a period of extreme abstractions did she finally find her current voice, or should I say depth of emotion, that drives her paintings today.
Currently Brown is working on a painting of lemons. As she talks about the technical elements that are considered in order to create the work of art- harmony, balance, symmetry, movement, texture, color, etc.-they all blend together seamlessly to create these emotional masterpieces. Only when the painting has fully developed its own “personality,” will it be done, she stated. That’s the point at which Brown says “I couldn’t do any better” and the painting is finished.
I asked Margaret if she had any final thoughts and she spoke of the epiphany she had with her painting, and her life. It has guided her to the work she’s doing now because she never gave up. The artist has learned a confidence and joyful livelihood the would not have been found without the journey she’s been on with her painting. Brown can’t believe that every day she gets to do what she loves. Her enthusiasm for painting is highly visible and emotionally felt within each painting. Like I stated before, intriguing!
*Final weekend to visit Margaret Zox Brown’s work @ Path Cafe, 131 Christopher St., brought to you by the American Art Gallery.