The South in Black & White | 2018
The South in Black & White is a personal and expressionistic look at the Southern United States. I’m struck with the notion that a media artist working alone, like a painter or writer, can create a new form of moving image designed to be viewed on a wall that has the immediacy of cinema, and the poetic density of painting and photography.
Early in 2018 I created my first video montage work for a flat screen (Dissolving Las Vegas). I employed simple digital layering techniques little different than the dissolves employed by the inventor of the effect, Georges Melies. The work contains nothing but dissolves. Like the photo-silk screens used in the paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, I’m very interested accidents of the process and the creation of poetic meaning when two or more disparate images blend to create a meaning greater than the sum of the individual images. This kind of layering can be found in the opening sequence in Apocalypse Now and the strangely poetic commercial title work of Patrick Clair (True Detective on HBO). Unlike many avant-garde artists, I have no problem appropriating good ideas from mainstream filmmakers.
The South is recently infamous for giving Donald Trump the votes he needed to become president- he won every state in the South except Virginia. The South has long been known for its crooked populist and racist politicians, but the election of Donald Trump has profound implications for the entire planet. I thought it was
Important to create a work that looks at the South though three prisms- that of the new South, the traditional south, and the populist South. By creating complex layered images, I hoped to create juxtapositions that reveal the complexity of this little understood region where I have lived since the 1960s.
Dissolving Las Vegas | 2018
Short Synopsis: Dissolving Las Vegas is an expressionistic montage of video images shot over a four year period in Las Vegas, Nevada. This city is accurately described as the first 21st century city and is the brightest city on earth when viewed from space. By combining neon signs, non-stop revelers, street hustlers, and some of the most excessive architecture and art on the planet, I’ve created a 14 minute video painting that reveals the shape of cities to come. Music track by the great neo-surrealist musician Bruce Hampton.
My recent work is informed by the conventions of still photography and artists who pioneered layered editing techniques made possible by digital compositing systems. I like to think of this work as 21st Century painting. My pieces are designed to be viewed on a flat screen on a wall in an architectural context- I was one of the first video artists to show work on a digital flat screen in 1985. Like a painter, I work alone and try to create highly dense and thought provoking work that can be appreciated over multiple viewings. The final product of this work process is a flat wall screen the continuously replays the work- an animated digital painting.
Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.
Artist: William A. Brown Status in the Art World: Under the Radar Education: MFA University of Florida, BA Emory University, Work: Emory University Faculty (Sr. Lecturer Emeritus) Works produced as an artist: Avant-Garde films and videos 1976- present. Still Photographs: 1972-1976, 2006-present. Experimental Documentary Work- 1976-present.