new-york

Joan Brown

Frumkin/Adams Gallery

Joan Brown’s self-portraits from the period 1970–83 are vivid, vastly enjoyable images of a woman who seems not so much to age (however gracefully) as to flower into states of psychic flamboyance before one’s eyes. In Homage to Akhenaton, 1983, the most recent work in this show, painted when the artist was turning 45, Brown stands proudly in the foreground, a flaming red-haired, green-eyed herald for the sun deity. The god’s profile appears in the forms of the artist’s dangle-earrings and necklace, and is further evoked by a riot of Egyptoid background patterning that includes the well-defined outline of a cat. This painting is Brown’s “Aida”—a summation in high form of themes advanced in earlier efforts such as the simpler Self-Portrait at Age 42, 1980 (her “Nabucco”), in which the artist presents herself against a sky-blue background wearing beads, a locket charm (also in Akhenaton’s

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