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Art Review: An artistic gift for the community

July 03, 2010|By Terri Martin
(Courtesy Jan Reilly )

"The Artwork of Robert Brown: A Retrospective Exhibition of a Life's Work," is presented at the Brand Library Galleries after the fashion of a museum shop.

The purpose of the exhibition is to raise funds to support free arts and cultural events programs at the Brand and to share Brown's art with the community.

A prolific and master printmaker, Brown's limited-edition serigraphs are pinned to gallery walls and stacked on tables staged throughout the main room. One end of the gallery is lit up with Brown's glassworks — sculptures, panes, etched panels and plates capture and refract light from gallery windows. The casual presentation was chosen in order to minimize the cost of the exhibition and reinforce the goal of "fundraising."

Like Vincent Van Gogh, Brown had a desire to share his passion for art with people of all economic stations and to serve as inspiration for art enthusiasts, both collectors and creators. All of Brown's works are for sale, priced well below market rate, to disseminate the work throughout the community, and to support the place in which he exhibited often and loved dearly.

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Brown (1917-2009) was a lifelong Glendale resident and career artist. He served his community as a professor of fine arts at Glendale Community College from 1948-'83, during which time he produced a multitude of art pieces, crossing back and forth through styles and media — watercolor, photo transfer, drawing, collage, mixed media, ceramics and glass.

His thought-provoking themes included human sexuality, his relationship with the natural world, and socio-political ideals. His art is figurative abstract and pop. He was a member of the Western Serigraph Institute, an honorary artist of the Pasadena Society of Artists and president of Los Angeles Printmaking Society Foundation.

Brown received the Brand Associates Purchase Award for his pieces titled "Suburb" and "Opposite But Equal," which are now part of the Brand's permanent collection. After his retirement from Glendale Community College, he put much of his effort into glass art. He is well known for windows commissioned by Unitarian Universalist Church of Verdugo Hills, First Methodist Church of Glendale and Temple Adat Ari El in Valley Village. He was a consummate and talented visual artist.

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