In this specially commissioned artwork for Ikons of Identity, a group exhibition around the significance of the mask in our culture, Brown examined the theme by creating a ceramic installation comprising a conventional family group. The project explored psychoanalytic theory about the persona as a means of protection by examining the nature of
relationships, communication and loss. Each family member wore a mask, their outward persona, while negative plaster casts of
their real faces were hung on the wall nearby like family photographs. The use of the casting as the central making process
reflected an ongoing interest in the mould as a metaphor for the human condition.
The presentation reflected Brown’s understanding of the concept of the persona. The life size moulds for these brick and
stoneware clay figures were developed from drawings from life and their plaster portraits were derived from casts of the original
heads. The presentation of the group of artefacts and its relationship to the space it occupied broke away from the ceramic
convention of a single plinth based object, exploring the use of installation and making reference to the relationship of ceramics
to other materials.
Craftspace Touring, an organisation committed to the broad dissemination of its exhibitions, invited 18 artists (including Caroline
Broadhead, Paul Derrez and Freddie Robbins) from a variety of disciplines to make work for this exhibition. It toured the UK for
several months (venues included York City Art Gallery, Worcester City Art Gallery and Leicester City Art Gallery) and was
backed up with an illustrated catalogue.
Brown was invited to explore these ideas further in a group exhibition About Face: Get Your Head Around Sculpture in Croydon
Clocktower Museum, showing a group of ceramic heads and plaster portraits. This show included international artists from a
range of contexts including Tracey Emin, Henry Moore and Antony Gormley and gave Brown a further opportunity to
demonstrate the power of ceramics to convey serious meaning.
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