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Opening January 15 at Gallery 825, Los Angeles CA: Janine Brown's "The Holiness In the Ordinary"

Still from Tara Blackwell video portrait

Still from Tara Blackwell video portrait

Still from Christienne Frank Video Portrait

Still from Christienne Frank Video Portrait

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Artist Janine Brown looks closer at commonalities and distinctions within the framework of being a human through a series of revealing video portraits.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, January 12, 2022 / -- As people the world over grapple with distrust of the unknown or those who look, think, or live differently, multimedia artist Janine Brown’s solo show “The Holiness in the Ordinary” at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles looks closer at commonalities and distinctions within the framework of being a human. An all-day opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, January 15, 2022 from AM to PM. In addition, a Zoom Artist Conversation with Janine Brown and curator Terri C. Smith is scheduled for February 6 at 2 PM PST. Find the Zoom link Here.

Brown created a series of video portraits that allows each participant to reveal unique and often contradicting characteristics of their identity. Starting with a self-curated list of statements that complete the sentence “I am…”, each person gains agency over who and what they want to show the viewer. The resulting videos become part confessional and part mantra of humanity- revealing the complexities of identity and the common denominators between people unknown to each other. The portraits will be displayed as a three-channel video installation that highlights the complexities, contradictions, and commonalities of the participants to date.

A daughter of a schoolteacher, Brown was only allowed to watch educational television shows: Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Marlo Thomas’ special, Free to Be You and Me, were favorites. Not only were they educational, they showed a diverse group of people that she was not exposed to in rural Iowa. She grew up with a curiosity about all people and cultures. As Brown explains “In a clip from one episode of Sesame Street with Ernie and the Cookie Monster called “Identity Crisis. “The narrator asks, “Which is Ernie, and which is Cookie Monster?” They go on to each describe the same height, the same cute eyes, the same smiling mouth, and the same wiggly hands. This creates an identity crisis – which one are they? Another puppet comes in to describe their differences – blue fur vs. striped tee-shirt and small eyes vs. big googly eyes. This is the essence of my project. “The Holiness in the Ordinary” video installation explores humanity: the differences and the common denominators between a diverse array of people. Understanding and common ground may be the panacea needed in today’s world.

Janine Brown is a multidisciplinary artist based in Southern Connecticut, formerly Los Angeles, California. She uses personal experience such as her work in the fashion industry and childhood in the rural Midwest as well as historical research of her concepts such as the term “wallflower” to create still and moving portraits that explore and question ideas about identity and stereotypes. Brown's solo shows include Moorpark College Art Gallery, (California); Gallery 825, (California); and the Westport Arts Center (Connecticut). Group exhibitions include “Tra 2 Mari” at the Museo Area Archeologica Arte Contemporanea, Cisternino, Italy; “TenWomen” at Marie Baldwin Gallery, (California); and "How We See Her" at the Foundry Art Center (Missouri). A graduate of Iowa State University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and New York University’s Stern School of Business. Brown is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the School of Visual Arts Art Practice program. She maintains a studio in the America Fabrics Arts Building in Bridgeport, CT.

Terri C. Smith (she/her) has curated more than 80 contemporary art exhibitions, receiving three grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation, among other awards. Smith’s exhibitions have been featured in publications such as Art Papers, Artforum, Bomb magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Degree Critical, and artcritical. After 13 years as a contemporary art curator at Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, Smith earned her MA from Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies (2008).

Gallery 825 is the exhibition arm of the Los Angeles Art Association. Purchased in 1958, the gallery, which is located in the heart of Los Angeles at 825 North La Cienega Boulevard, provides LAAA artists with a professional venue in which to show their work.

Kristine Schomaker
Shoebox Arts
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