Artist examines the human form through portraits

Picture Perfect: Both of Aurora Brown’s oil paintings, “Courageous” (left) and “Uncertainty,” depict partially nude women looking into the distance and holding silky blue cloth. The painting “Courageous” portrays a woman exhibiting courage and confidence, while “Uncertainty” portrays a different woman as being reserved and self conscience. This study of body language is the main focus of Brown’s work.

Yash Chitrakar

Senior exhibit “Persona” will run until April 28 in the Art Building.

Aurora Brown, senior art major, received a lot of praise growing up for her artistic skills. She particularly remembers her aunt declaring her drawing of a wrestler, made by the younger, 10-year-old version of herself, as the best drawing she had ever seen. The attention she received had a huge impact on her. In her artist’s note, hanging by her artwork for her upcoming art show, she mentions that the adoration she got as a child and then as an adult may have pushed her to choose the path of an artist.

“I got so much praise at one point that I was like ‘Oh, I’m a good artist!’” Brown said. “Appreciation was the gasoline to my art. It fueled me.”

In her upcoming art show, she is trying to get away from that praise by separating the artist from the art. Her solution is removing the artist from the equation, and as such she has chosen to remove her name from her works of art.

“By doing that, I changed from being fueled by praise to being fueled by self-gratification,” Brown said.

The sculptures and paintings on display are mostly nude models. Much of the artist’s work focuses on the physical form and is heavily influenced by art in the same vein. Some models look at the viewer coyly, body hunched, eyes glancing sideways. Some exhibit more confidence, with a more open body and loose shoulders. Some of the faces are more expressive while others are more solemn in nature. The emotion does come through very strongly in both, and this is what Brown is trying to do: study what makes people tick.

“I really want to understand people and the human form,” Brown said. “When you draw and paint people you get to know them a little bit more.”

According to Brown, her understanding of people is accentuated when she draws them in the nude. People seem to express more of their personality, or the ‘truer’ version of their personality when they model in the nude. The models pose at a certain angle, trying to hide the part of their body that they don’t like or the art sessions end up being a giggle-fest. However, they do loosen up and articulate more as time passes.

For the artist, art serves a lot of purposes. It can be didactic or entertaining. However, the artist wants her art to evoke some sort of emotion. Her previous art shows are proof of this. She did an art show in Hasselt, Belgium, called “Babel.” The three paintings of people depicted in a mirror she showcased there were about introspection. Accompanying the paintings and facing them was a giant mirror. This meant that the only way the viewers could look at the painting was to look at themselves first. One could see the introspection at play there; according to the artist, some people stopped to check and reapply their makeup while others fidgeted uncomfortably.

The viewers were left to ponder upon the meaning of the art, and she wants them to do the same in her upcoming show. “I want people to make, on their own, what they can of my art–give their own meaning,” Brown said.

As for post-graduation plans, the artist has none. She thinks she may delve into commercial or fantasy art, as that is an art-form largely ignored in academic circles.

“I guarantee you that a lot of people who study art here came here because they saw cool cartoons or cool anime and want to replicate and develop that,” Brown said. “After I get my master’s degree I want to be able to facilitate that. I want to take traditional art and use it in a modern way.”