Penn State Abington is hosting “Know the Enemy,” a solo exhibition by Philadelphia artist and educator Gerard Brown. The display runs through Mar. 3 in the Woodland Building art gallery.
Passages of Writing
Brown is an educator and artist who paints passages of writing that fascinate and confuse him, using codes, ciphers, and laborious techniques that allow for reflection. Occasionally, the messages of these writings compel him to use other techniques and to collaborate with other artists.
“Gerard Brown’s work uses a variety of coding methods to make language visible. His paintings and drawings are meditations on important texts and ideas and invite us to think deeply about contemporary issues through these texts and visual works,” said H. John Thompson, associate teaching professor of art, and art gallery director.
“Know the Enemy” highlights Brown’s work from the past 12 years.
According to Brown, one theme is how reading and writing can mediate between diverse identities and states of mind. Brown said he has used his painting as an opportunity to ruminate on ideas that emerge from his reading by transcribing passages from artists and authors that inspire deeper contemplation. To slow the act of reading, he encodes these texts, which requires a letter-by-letter engagement with his sources.
The resulting paintings celebrate literature’s capacity to help readers overcome isolation or explore the way politicians have weaponized language to polarize the nation.
Drawings and Needlework
In this exhibit, drawings and needlework imagine the act of learning to communicate with non-human readers.
Taken as a whole, the exhibit offers a chance to reflect on our collective involvement in language.
Brown has written criticism for Philadelphia Weekly, Juxtapoz, and Ceramics Art and Perception and has organized exhibits for the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Moore College of Art & Design, and the Center for Art in Wood.
He serves as an associate professor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
Accessing the Works
Visit the gallery website of the Penn State Abington Woodland Building gallery for the exhibition hours of “Know Your Enemy.”