A life-long resident of Michigan, I began early to show a spark of art talent. I continued throughout my school days furthering this and eventually received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Michigan State University with an emphasis in printmaking and later, a Master of Arts from Eastern Michigan University.
In 2010, I retired from teaching after 35 years. I began taking classes and fell into painting as a medium and began to work abstractly. Having been very representative in my work, abstraction freed me to explore color, texture, and composition on so many different levels. Five years of working abstractly led me back to my figurative work and for three years now I’ve been working at blending the figure with the abstract. I have found that when I take the greatest risk—facing failure, I am rewarded with far better work.
For me art is an endeavor to reach a satisfaction from inside. Looking at art in all medias, there is a common thread to good art—it challenges the artist and the viewer.
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The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
During these years, I was working within the realm of abstract expressionism. I worked in acrylics because I work fast and they let me. Visual space intrigued me and I’m was always looking for ways to create it using color, line, and textures. Meighen Jackson, teacher and mentor at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, has had a great influence on the direction of my art. I’ve learned to push and pull with colors, how to let a drip become the essence of a painting, how an energetic scribble through the paint can create a line of intensity. I always love to hear what viewers see in the pieces because it always broadens my view of the work!
The human figure has always fascinated me. Having worked in recent years in non-representational abstract work, I found I was always drawn back to the human figure. This current body of work (started in February, 2015) attempts to blend the figure into the world of abstraction. Beginning with ink wash drawings on raw canvas from live models, the “drawings” are literally “ripped up” and placed in pieces on regular gessoed canvas. Once they “work” as a total image and are adhered to the canvas, other mediums such as acrylic paint, ink, and raveled string are used to complete the image. In 2016, the discovery of silver gesso and how some of the ink would transfer (when adhered and allowed to dry) to what it was attached to led to more playing. In 2018, I have continued to work between figurative and abstract, losing the recognition of the figure, to gain an overall statement that far exceeds the original drawing.
"When asked to write about the work of Jan Brown I had to smile. I’ve known Jan and her art work for many years. I have never tired of seeing the amazing things Jan finds to say about a human being in her figurative work. Her drawing and paintings express the sensitivity and beauty she experiences when she observes and connects to people. When I look at Jan’s abstract work I see the lyrical, brilliant colors, perspective and get lost in the magical happening on the canvas. I think it is easy to see this in her work."
"Brown’s body of work is a complex visual compendium of a complex mind undertaking the difficult task of overseeing the transmutation of her thoughts, memories and emotions onto the canvas. The ultimate trip with Jan Brown’s paintings is that they let you in on a profound truth about how humans function cognitively."
"It is often said the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this is my perception with my recent experience in the art world and how it applies to works of art. The work of Jan Brown leads the viewer to interpret what the pieces are saying. The progression from abstract to figurative to figurative abstract is a testimonial to her talent and creative mind never resting and wanting to keep moving forward in different directions."
"At this moment your art stirs me so very much, so powerful, so sure of themselves. Your work takes my breath away. As intriguing as Franz Kline, as Wilhem DeKooning, as Pierre Soulages…many so full of understatement, subtle and powerful in their nuance"