‘One of California’s most eminent artists’

April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Wayne Thiebaud and Theophilus Brown in Sacramento | April 2011

In today’s Sacramento Bee, Victoria Dalkey writes of Theophilus Brown:

Brown’s drawings of male nudes, in particular, are direct and solidly observed without flash or flair. There is nothing ingratiating about these studies, though a couple are androgynously sensual. There is also a female nude, presented in a more complex composition in which she sits in front of a window with a light-seeking plant to her right. It’s a complicated, hard-won drawing that exemplifies the seriousness of his approach.

Another element, an emotive use of color, comes into his paintings. A male figure sits in a chair facing the viewer, his stolidity compromised by the strong color of his blue shirt and the red wall behind him. Similarly alive with color, warm reds and shades of blue from teal to aquamarine, is a straight-on self-portrait, barefooted, cross-legged in a studio interior.

Other works get into the realm of the archetypal. A woman and a child on the beach remind one of Matisse’s 1909 “Nude by the Sea” and his 1907 “Le Luxe II.” Here, the bright sea and dark sky take on the force of symbols, the figures timeless evocations of the human in an idyllic landscape.

Another scene of nudes near water makes one think of the bathers of Cézanne. These homely, raw figures rise up from a rocky shore like primal beings placed in a timeless scenario.

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