DELIA BROWN

Last Exit: Punta Junta

March 3 - April 14, 2012 Back to Exhibitions

In There Like Swimwear, 2008 – 2009
Oil on linen
20 x 40 inches
In There Like Swimwear, 2008 – 2009
Oil on linen
20 x 40 inches

Press Release

DELIA BROWN

Last Exit: Punta Junta


March 3 - April 14, 2012
In collaboration with Country Club Projects, Martha Otero Gallery is pleased to announce the forthcoming solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Delia Brown entitled Last Exit: Punta Junta. These new works continue Brown’s Guerilla Lounging project, where private lodgings of the upper class are borrowed for several hours in which to party and 'play house' with friends from the middle and lower economic spheres. In these confidently executed oil paintings, Brown satirizes the act of leisure, while simultaneously indulging in it to gross proportions.

Armed with a paperback of sociologist Thorsten Veblen's best-known work The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) as a field guide, Brown and her friends lounge in the airy spaces of exclusive private villas on the Caribbean island of St. Barth. The paintings, made from photographic documentation of these escapades, contain imagery reminiscent of pictures of the bourgeois leisure created by 19th Century French painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec, and the artists of the Century Neue Sachlichkeit (though with more subjectivity than the former and with less contempt than the latter.) Brown and her black-beret-and-camouflage-clad cadre live out their fantasies of 'conspicuous consumption.' They drink cocktails, smoke Cuban cigars and sunbathe, with fists pumping the air and a self-righteous sense of entitlement, as if there were a political imperative to their decadence.

Tightly bound within Brown's work is the youthful desire to 'live large' (perhaps stemming from the artist's driving impulse to create, in order to defy mortality or transcend the tragic banality of circumstances and surroundings) in spaces where luxury is normalized and excess is acceptable. The fleetingness, or temporality, of the 'guerrilla lounging' experience begs admittance of the failure of luxury and excess as a replacement for that which we lack. The paintings, themselves, are another attempt to prolong the vacation/charade. In the end, a rugged playfulness trumps the potential cynicism of the narrative.

The show's title, Last Exit: Punta Junta references Thomas Lawson's seminal 1981 essay in Artforum, 'Last Exit: Painting'. 'It must be remembered,' Lawson writes, 'that Picasso considered cubism and camouflage to be one and the same, a device of misrepresentation, a deconstructive tool to undermine the certainty of appearances.'

Punta Junta? We're almost there
No Biennial again? I could almost care-
I feel like General Sherman when he took Savannah
Smoking' Romeo & Julieta, sippin' Havana
Club, I could stay forever, whatever the weather, man
All I need's a paintbrush, a mic and a Leatherman
I'm on a thousand thread count, or on a hammock dozin'
I should paint my own picture 'cause I can't stop posin'.

Delia Brown was born in 1969 in Berkeley, California. She received her BA at the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions of Brown's work have been held at venues in New York, Los Angeles, Aspen, Seoul, Venice, Paris and Athens. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at the FLAG Art Foundation, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, the 10th Biennial of Havana, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the national touring group exhibitions Baja to California, curated by Ralph Rugoff, Matthew Higgs, Curator, Toby Kamps, Lisa Corrin, and Daina Augaitis; and '100 Artists See God' curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Seattle Art Museum and the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley. Brown lives and works in Los Angeles.