7/11/09 3:36 PM
An obsessive hand and mind can elevate even the most mundane materials and artistic strategies into something transcendent. The work of Dana Brown illustrates this well, whether made from franked first-class postage stamps, plastic milk jug caps, cut-up cereal boxes, meticulously clipped dots from atop printed lower-case “i”s, or any of the other detritus that Brown sees potential in and the rest of us simply throw out. Material mundaneness, check. But add to that artistic strategies that range from repetitive mark-making to meticulous gluing to endless stacking, and the equation becomes increasingly strange, and all the more unusual for its ultimate effect, which is one of almost modernist purity, as if the sheer infiniteness of Brown’s insistent regularity, his rejection of variation for constancy, were enough to take the sum of boring material and dull strategy over the edge into something wild and wonderful. Reality transcended, check.