Nancy Brown was born and raised in the Boston area, where she learned to name the stars in the night sky, count snowflakes in the cold, and hold nestlings in her hands. She loved airports, highway on-ramps, and construction sites. She collected. Ideas, objects, images.
“I’m drawn to what goes unnoticed or overlooked, the commonplace, even the cast-offs, of ordinary life. They have a numinous presence, a story waiting to be told,” she says.
After she graduated from college, Nancy's curiosity took her 3,000 miles east to Europe for a year and then 3,000 miles west to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she eventually pursued graduate studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. Today, she lives and works in San Leandro, California.
Her object-making combines found, recycled, and re-purposed materials in a process of bricolage – or, make|do – that often produces slyly comical results. Documenting her work led to the broader practice of taking digital photographs of everyday things, found and otherwise. These objects are sometimes captured in studio lighting but are often camouflaged in the play of natural light and the blur of peripheral seeing. Visual ambiguity and unexpected juxtapositions are used formally and conceptually to elevate the ordinary and prompt fresh responses to everyday experience. Or, as Wallace Stevens might say, “a new knowledge of reality”. 1
Nancy's work has appeared in venues throughout the United States.
1 Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself, in The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Alfred A. Knopf, 1954)