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Colleen Browning: A Retrospective

 

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley recently announced the opening of Colleen Browning: A Retrospective. The exhibition celebrates the incredible talent of Browning with a collection of 46 beautiful oil paintings. The exhibition opens April 4 and continues through June 15, 2003. (left: Colleeen Browning, Mindscape, 1973)

            Browning is a distinguished American artist whose paintings have been widely acclaimed since her arrival in this country from Ireland in 1949. A leader in the Modern and Post-Modern revivals of Realism in American art, Browning is a realist whose work defies attempts to categorize it. Her work is largely recognized for its superior command of materials and media and for her unwavering devotion to understanding the human condition.

            Art critic Leonard Kriegel once wrote about Browning, "Here is a realist painter with an interest in the world. . . not an interest in color alone, not in form alone, not in structure alone, but in all of these as they filter through a single consciousness. . . the combination of painter and person that lies behind the vision."

            Browning studied at the London Slade School of Art, where she was introduced to the methods and manners of the Old Masters and refined her knowledge of perspective and composition in keeping with the academic traditions of Renaissance Europe.

Her work successfully marries together texture and form with psychologically disconcerting compositions. "I paint different subjects, but I am always a realist, and illusionist, if you prefer," she said. "I look for technique that will most effectively present the character of the object or scene." Her paintings also reflect her interests in mystery and paradox. "I am very lucky to be an artist. I can make windows into a transformed world where the mundane becomes magical in an illuminated moment." (right: Colleen Browning, Three Figures on a Beach, 1995)

            Throughout her illustrious career, Browning has been a teacher, mentor and role model to artists at the Pratt Institute, the City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design. Her works are included in several Museum collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Milwaukee Art Center, the St. Louis Art Museum, the New York State Art Museum, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, and several others.

            She has been selected to exhibit in most major invitational exhibitions, such as the Whitney Museum in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Walker Art Gallery in Minneapolis and the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, where her painting, Holiday, won the Popular Choice Award at the 1952 exhibition. Her work has been featured in articles in Time, Newsweek, Glamour, the New York Times, Arts Magazine, Art International, and American Artist.

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