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Joseph Browning

NOTE: It's important to take your time looking at these paintings, to go slowly and let your eyes and brain digest them over time. I've never been interested in making paintings that are easy to take in or that are about one thing. I've always loved paintings that can be discovered and then rediscovered, seeing different things each time you look at them. This request is easier asked than achieved in today's abundance of too much information and having no patience or time to comprehend it all. Of wanting instant access to everything but not wanting to savor it much before jumping to the next accessible thing. It took me over 11 years to create these paintings so try not to look at them in 11 minutes or even 11 hours. This website is going to be here for a long time so there's no hurry and it will make a huge wonderful difference in the end.

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Joseph Browning Paintings 031
No. 031 - Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow I
Acrylic on canvas, lace and paper over plywood - 15 in. x 20 in.
Monday 11/27/1989 - Private Collection

Joseph Browning Paintings 032
No. 032 - Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow II
Acrylic on lace and paper over plywood - 14-1/2 in. x 18 in.
Friday 6/2/1989 - Private Collection

Joseph Browning Paintings 033
No. 033 - Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow III
Acrylic on lace and paper over wood panel - 21-3/16 in. x 12 in.
Sunday 12/31/1989 - Private Collection

Joseph Browning Paintings 034
No. 034 - Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow IV
Acrylic on canvas, lace and paper over plywood - 14-3/4 in. x 18 in.
Sunday 12/31/1989 - Collection of the Artist

Joseph Browning Paintings 035
No. 035 - Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow V
Acrylic on cotton, lace and paper over plywood - 17-7/8 in. x 18-1/4 in.
Sunday 12/31/1989 - Private Collection

The Over Kandinsky's Serpent Rainbow paintings were my first series created in succession. I had the materials at hand and had pre-constructed the canvas, lace and paper pieces over the wood bases before painting each one. I worked on all of them simultaneously, going from one to the other to the other. I would end up using this same simultaneous process on future paintings as it felt like I was creating a family of similar works, each with its own personality. I really enjoyed being the creator of these little families of paintings, perhaps because I chose not to create any human children in this lifetime...

Joseph Browning Paintings 036
No. 036 - The Birth Of The Three Kings
Acrylic on cotton, canvas and wood - 18 in. x 24 in.
Broken Canvas No. 6
Monday 7/31/1989 - Collection of the Artist

Joseph Browning With Painting 036

With No. 036 outside my first apartment with Olga on Shrader St. in San Francisco, 1989

Joseph Browning Paintings 037
No. 037 - Pictures Exhibiting Signs Of Grandeur
Acrylic on canvas - 12 in. x 12 in.
Saturday 1/13/1990 - Private Collection

Joseph Browning Working On Paintings 036 & 037

Working on Nos. 036 & 037 in my studio on Page St. San Francisco, 1990

Joseph Browning Paintings 038
Acrylic on canvas - 18 in. x 18 in.
Wednesday 1/24/90 - Collection of the Artist

SUP POR THE ART was the second painting where I utilized letters and words in the composition, in this case serving as part of the overall abstract design. Growing up watching television and being surrounded by outdoor advertisements from newspaper stands to billboards, I've always been fascinated by how we use words in print to introduce products and sway opinion and interest in said products, even when the product is some form of propaganda or news. There's an immediacy to catching someone's attention by a sudden display of words in an outdoor setting. You don't have a chance to decline the adverstisment once you've seen it, because now that you've seen and read it, it immediately becomes part of your experience of life whether you like it or not. I've been trained to accept and even expect to be assaulted by random ads in all aspects of my life so I'm keenly aware of both their power and persuasiveness upon the viewer. Later these words or ads or persuasive ideas would take a grand stand in my paintings and ultimately sway me away from painting...

Joseph Browning Paintings 039
No. 039 - Post-Earthquake Freeway Driving Home While Bella Courts Dali With Smiles
Acrylic on canvas - 36 in. x 24 in.
Wednesday 3/7/1990 - Private Collection

Painting No. 039 is in part a testament to me being thankful for being alive. When the Loma Prieta Earthquake happened at 5:04 p.m. Tuesday October 17, 1989, I was finishing my work day in Oakland, CA and heading back to San Francisco via the old raised double-deck Cypress Freeway structure on the lower deck. At one point just after driving onto the lower deck it felt like I had suddenly lost suspension in my little Honda Civic and somehow all my tires went flat simultaneously. I had never felt anything like that before, obviously, and had no idea yet that it was caused by a major earthquake because I was in a moving car on a raised section of freeway. As I continued along at a much slower speed, I approached where the upper deck curved over and essentially joined the lower deck to then become the double-deck structure that led to the Bay Bridge. At this juncture I saw ahead of me that the section of upper deck freeway was laying on top of the lower deck, quite flat like two concrete pancakes.

There was a big World Series baseball game in San Francisco starting around that same time, with the SF Giants team playing against the Oakland A's, so everyone had left work to either go to the game or to go home to watch the game. This was evidenced by the complete lack of commute traffic around me as I approached this massive impass ahead of me. Since the upper deck was laying so flat on top of the lower deck, my brain assumed that there were no cars underneath it. I later learned that indeed there were cars crushed underneath. I would also later learn about how the brain protects us in times of extraordinary events as a survival mechanism by limiting the amount of traumatic information in order to keep the us calm and better able to make rational decisions.

This story goes on, but suffice it to say I was about 5 minutes away from an unexpected and sudden death. Had I left to travel home a few minutes earlier... And from this extratordinary event I learned quite clearly and quickly of the fragility of life. I also learned quite profoundly about the power of gratitude and how being gracious would serve me in so many different ways going forward.

Joseph Browning Loma Prieta Cypress Freeway Collapse

Photo showing part of the incredible damage caused to the Cypress Freeway in Oakland, CA during the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989

Joseph Browning Paintings 040
No. 040 - Life Before Baseball
Acrylic on canvas - 12 in. x 18 in.
Wednesday 3/21/1990 - Collection of the Artist

I love this painting. I love the orderliness, the color combinations, the way the composition holds together. It speaks calmly yet confidently to me each time I look at it. I can't exactly translate but I like what it's telling me, like a soothing bedtime story from a strong protector after an emotionally challenging day. When I look at it I just think "YES."

Joseph Browning With Paintings 039 & 040

With Nos. 039 & 040 outside my first apartment with Olga on Shrader St. in San Francisco, 1989

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