Mia Brownell’s (HF vol.13) latest work continues her unique and fascinating studies in expression. Her paintings examine the interrelationships between humans, animals, agriculture and even biotechnology. With her upcoming solo exhibit in New York just around the corner at Sloan Fine Art, Brownell takes a few exclusive moments to share some thoughts and a peek of her new work with Hi Fructose viewers.
Tell us a little about the premise for this upcoming exhibition. How are you approaching this new work and what is the conceptual basis?
Well, the paintings in my upcoming solo show “Stomach Acid Dreams” (at Sloan Fine Art in NYC) are a continuation of my interest in ideas about food. The paintings express my realization that the act of chewing food is an elaborate intersection between many things including self, body, body image, other species, agriculture, culture, industry (industrialized food complex) and biotechnology.
Is there a specific painting that communicates exactly what you were working toward in this grouping?
It is difficult to pick one. However, if I had to, ‘Still Life with Gastric Peptide’ is a top player.
So I’m sure the readers are very curious, what have you been up to since the last time we heard from you in HF Vol. 13?
The same old delicate juggle of painting, teaching and life!
In what ways do you see your work or your process growing and changing?
Several of the paintings in “Stomach Acid Dreams” focus on our relationship to other animals. I have painted meat and poultry many times but have really pushed the integration compositionally with this new work – this has allowed me to discover new technical solutions and metaphorical associations.
How much study goes into your work these days, or has your process become more of an intuitive or direct creative moment?
When an idea for a new painting hits – I go for it full speed. The idea lingers until I start working it out organically and intuitively as a doodle or sketch. When the idea involves an animal or butchered meat more preparation and study is involved; I have to stage the composition and make detailed sketches. When the actual painting starts it is always intuitive with my actions casually honoring my compositional intent from the sketch.
Curious, what doors or opportunities have opened by the new work or ideas that you’ve been working with for this exhibit?
The response to the new work (several of which are in the exhibit at Sloan Fine Art) has been expansive. My paintings have been recently exhibited all over including international shows in Amsterdam, Prague, London, Bath and Beijing. I will also be featured in a documentary film that will be premiering Friday October 22, 2010 at the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut. The film follows the five artists participating in the current exhibition at the Museum titled “Where Lies Beauty”.
And in other news, aside from just the painting aspect of life, have there been any interesting developments or stories that have happened of late?
I am about to engage in an imagined affair with the long dead painter Jan Brueghel the Elder. I was awarded a grant to travel over winter break to Madrid to see the collection of Brueghel’s work at the Prado Museum. … Alas, like most painters, everything finds its way into the painting aspect of life. I have a feeling this trip to Spain will have a huge impact.