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Features / February 14, 2008

John Brown: “The Visceral Thing”—Painting the Abstract Body in Toronto

John Brown Grimm Grimmbigger Grimmless #5 1999–2001 Collection of Steve & Lynn Smart

Painter John Brown has been a presence on the Toronto art scene since the 1980s. In “The Visceral Thing,” MOCCA has put together a survey of 30 paintings that span 25 years of distinctive artmaking. Known for his slow, meticulous working process, Brown’s attention to detail has made his work widely collected by private individuals, corporations and public institutions across Canada. He has been known to take up to a year to create some paintings and two of his largest works are recent completions for the show. MOCCA director and exhibition curator David Liss says that his exhibition of Brown’s work “embodies the curious yet essential paradoxes of his paintings: they are as straightforward as they are ambiguous. Each picture bears the scars and shadows of the actual history of their own making.”