JOY WOLFENDEN BROWN
Anima-Mundi is proud to present ‘Pneuma’, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Joy Wolfenden Brown. ‘Pneuma’ is Wolfenden Brown’s fifth solo exhibition at Anima-Mund and reinforces and expands upon the artists’ intensely observed understanding of the human condition.
These paintings simultaneously confront and disarm the viewer, yet, as the title of the exhibition suggests, ‘Pneuma’ is brimming with a delicate breath of life, where the ritualistic process of making flows continuously from the artists' subconscious, as a visual reflection of her experience, emotion and perception.
This collection of exquisitely intuitive, intimate small and larger scale oil painting is infused with renowned sensitivity to absorb the physical and emotional world that surrounds and precedes the present moment. Suggestions of strength combined with fragility, vulnerability and solitude rest beneath the ethereally layered and unmannered surface of each work. The body language often appears awkward, guarded, as if attempting to close the breach created through the wide eyed protagonist, offering a window in to the soul of the subject, the artist and in turn, ourselves.
(The Exhibition Introduction can be viewed below)
EXHIBITION IMAGE THUMBNAILS (click to enlarge)
ONLINE CATALOGUE (click below)
Painting is a prayer which sets my inner compass to a new path. If the walls around my heart attempt to close in, then painting paves a way towards an opening door. Sometimes the paintings darken and the figure becomes obscured, hidden or lost. I’ve found that my painting doesn’t skirt around this, but picks it’s way through, recording each step along the way. In the earlier stages of this body of work, the process felt like excavating or scratching away at an archaeological dig, as if searching to uncover ancient fragments or hidden treasures from the past.
The tiny paintings which evolved inspired me to seek out images of ruined frescoes from the Renaissance. The damaged and poorly restored frescoes have always captivated me more than the perfect, highly decorative ones. I love the way the faces and hands are often the final fragments to remain; surrounded by absent areas of crude plaster, which seem not only to provide an indication of history through the layers of passing time but a beautiful sense of spaciousness from which, and into which, the figure can breathe.
‘Pneuma’, a Greek word meaning breath or spirit, is a gentle word which describes a sense of being filled or lifted from within. Breathing and a feeling of openness around the heart, of being born aloft and carried or wooed into a spacious place, are all feelings which have accompanied me and been channelled into this body of work.
Joy Wolfenden Brown, 2018
Joy Wolfenden Brown is a British artist born in Stamford, Lincolnshire in 1961. She currently lives in Bude, North Cornwall.
Wolfenden Brown’s intimate oil paintings feel hauntingly familiar possessing a raw, emotional, honesty. She captures fleeting fragments of memory, moments in time where the inherent vulnerability of the figures depicted, often in isolation, is palpable. These are lovingly yet spontaneously executed reflections on the human condition, which have an unnervingly, yet simultaneously comforting, unguarded quality.
Joy Wolfenden Brown graduated from Leeds University then completed a post-graduate diploma in Art Therapy at Hertfordshire College of Art & Design. She worked as an art therapist for ten years before moving to Cornwall in 1999. Wolfenden Brown has had a number of sell out solo exhibitions and was the First Prize Winner in The National Open Art Competition, 2012. She was also awarded the Somerville Gallery painting prize in 2003 and first prizewinner at the Sherborne Open in 2007. Works were acquired by the Anthony Pettullo Outsider Art Collection in Milwaukee with further works held in collections worldwide. Wolfenden Brown has exhibited internationally with four solo exhibitions at Anima-Mundi marking a long and fruitful working relationship. Joy Wolfenden Brown is represented by Anima-Mundi.