Phoenix S Brown

I am an interdisciplinary artist who makes paintings with elements of drawing, collage, and printmaking. Using diverse disciplines and materials allows me to disrupt and reclaim western conventions of painting as a woman of color. By doing this, my work challenges art historical tropes and preconceived notions of the Black female body. With contemporary material and aesthetic choices, I subvert the one-way window of fantasy that western painting has long offered.

Throughout art history, nature and Blackness have existed as reserves to exploit; in my work, they blend and force us to confront our viewing access to them. I conceal and reveal parts of figures to introduce dialogues of voyeurism and fetishization. By abstracting representations of nature, I make botanical taxonomy, a European construct, impossible to employ as foliage resists visual specificity. Instead, the presence of nature signals a fantastical, safe space where I allow myself to unravel personal reflections.

I use technology as a part of my artmaking approach, building contemporary reimaginations of utopias and resistances where Black womanhood is free from stereotypes, fetishes, and the white male gaze. In my process, there is a feedback loop between my analog painting and digital editing visible in the final image. My corporeal paintings are layered with unorthodox brushstrokes informed by digital drawing software while maintaining a textured surface that recalls practices inherent to the western painting tradition.