“Ancient metalworkers had no need to understand the molecular and sub molecular complexities of their steel, bronze, copper, gold and tin. They invented mystical powers to describe the unknown, while they continued to operate their forges and wield their hammers.” – Frank Herbert, Heretics of Dune
I, too, have no comprehension of the mechanics of my art’s manifestation. I do have a number of metaphors, and these metaphors, in relation to one another, are paradoxical. My suspicion is that paradox is at the heart of art creation/discovery.
An alchemical approach has dominated my work in the arts over these many years; I want to find something of interest beneath the surface. I have applied this approach to 2D art, video art and music art. In every case I eschew extensive planning and reliance on the mental in favor of improvisation and the straddling of polar opposites. The polarities I most frequently invoke are intent/openness and obscure/reveal. A form of alchemy develops in this straddling of polarities. Surprise, serendipity and synchronicity then make their appearance. A glimpse of something beyond the surface of my subject is revealed when this process is successful.
One of the metaphors I find useful is that I serve as a conduit or conductor of energies beyond my ken. Just as a wire conducts electricity and a lens conducts light, these energies flow through me but I am not in charge of them. Certainly these could be unconscious energies of my own, or they may be entirely external to me. My conscious self plays a role, but it is more as collaborator than as director. This is another paradox of polarities in that this internal/external explanation may be akin to the wave/particle model for electrons; both may be valid.
As Niels Bohr once said: “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”
In practical terms, I use a digital camera and Photoshop, and then archival inkjet pigment on canvas, followed by stretching, varnish and framing. I do not do editions. Every artwork is a one-of-a-kind original.
Christopher Paul Brown is known for his exploration of the unconscious through improvisation and the cultivation of serendipity and synchronicity via alchemy. His photography career dates back to 1978 and he has been active in improvised experimental music and video since 1974. His first photography sale was to the collection of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana (now part of British Petroleum) and his video You Define Single File was nominated for the Golden Gate Award at the 47th San Francisco International Film Festival in 2004. In 2020 his work appeared in the following physical exhibitions: Dallas Metro Arts Contemporary exhibition at the Modern Arts National, and The Shape of Things and The Shadow Aspect exhibits at Praxis Photo Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN. Fourteen magazines, journals and catalogs published 41 of his works, including Dek Unu magazine, which featured him in its November issue with 11 works and an interview. In 2019 his photography appeared in the 7th International Photography Annual Publication of Manifest Gallery and in Tusis, Manipulated Images, a hardcover Dek Unu book. In 2018 he exhibited at LOOSENART MODULES, Millepiani Exhibition Space, Rome, Italy and was featured in the Click! Billboard Exhibition Writ Large in Raleigh, NC. His work appeared in five other juried exhibitions and he received several awards. In 2017 he was exhibited at Arte Borgo Gallery, Rome, Italy in the finalist exhibition for Art FOMENAR and was awarded the Cash Jury Prize. He also exhibited at the gallery Bartcelona Concept in Belgrade, Serbia, and he had ten works from his series Obscure Reveal at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum in Florida, USA.
He earned a BA in Film from Columbia College Chicago in 1980. Brown was born in Dubuque, Iowa, USA and now resides in Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA.
“As a child I always imagined myself creating art, music and stories as a hobby. I imagined my career would be as an exo-geologist, exploring the frontier of other planet geology. However, as a teenager in the 1970s I realized that the next frontier was not space but rather those dimensions alluded to by quantum mechanics, string theory and ancient mystics. It is this frontier that I explore with my art.” - Brown