Inspired by an ardent interest in History, Travel and Anthropology, I am drawn to the biographical and narrative qualities of the individual human journey. I have been fortunate to explore a range of relevant themes in my work through personal travel experiences, influenced for many years as well by a prolific concurrent career in the Film Industry.
The insight acquired of the symbolism in garbing and beauty from my experience in the Film Industry, inspired my original iconic ‘Little Black Dress’ paintings which progressed over the past few years to include the representation of beauty and symbolism in a broadened context through an exploration of the Eastern Aesthetic, and directly resulted in my ‘Kimono’ paintings.
The symbolism of Japanese art within the context and history of the imagery depicted on each individual Kimono, reveals a distinct visual narrative and history of the life of the owner of the Kimono, or the person that it is intended for. Each of my Kimono paintings presents a detailed garment draped over an illusory figure, to avoid an abstract, rigid, illustrative image and in order to accentuate a softer, more feminine shape which captures the sensual folding of the fabric and entices the viewer to imagine or even fantasize about the characteristics of the illusive subject. The painted detail, although not always traditional, is highly symbolic and personalizes each artwork to represent a specific narrative for each individual artwork.
In order to portray the well-worn antique silks and linens that distinguish the age-old tradition, I developed a measured process of painstakingly layering numerous acrylic and oil glazes on textured surfaces, encapsulating the layers of painted detail and concluding with antique varnishes and resin. I often extend the use of mixed medium to include gold leaf and glass stains. More recently, the addition of embroidery advances the work to defy restrictions and the embroidery strings are sometimes left to cascade over the edges of the canvas, adding further dimensional interest and symbolism.
The intimate time spent on each artwork makes it very difficult to part with once completed, I suppose much like terminating a liaison with a lover or a concubine…but my passion is to create (and share) artworks with a dream like quality that evoke a sense of mystery… and tell the stories of the people that cross my path….
Sam Brown
Cape Town 2016

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