Linda Leslie Brown


“The present is conditioned by the accumulated traces of the past and the future of the earth will bear the mark of our present. While the manufacture of plastics destroys the archives of life on the earth its waste will constitute the archives of the twentieth century and beyond.”
— Bernadette Bensuade Vincent

“The sensing, sensitive imprint of (Linda L. Brown’s) fingers is everywhere evident, and in this digital era the primal language of human touch — warmth and caring — invites the viewer into the dialogue while offering recalcitrant opposition to a clinically scientific approach to the issues she investigates.”
— Mary Bucci McCoy

My recent sculptural work draws upon the transformative exchanges between nature, objects and viewers’ creative perception. These works are rife with allusions to the body. At the same time they suggest the plastic, provisional, and uncertain world of a new and transgenic nature, where corporeal and mechanical entities recombine. And because they are smal — no larger than a human head — they invite viewers to engage in an intimate examination that is both delightful and disturbing.

Revealing geologic strata, and appearing to have been retrieved after a long immersion in the earth or the ocean, my sculptures seem to be plastiglomerate relics of this damaged planet’s  Anthropocene era. The dialogue between the cultural and natural origins of the discarded materials comprising my sculptures and their literal and symbolic reference to systems of decay and regrowth are posited both in human, biologic time and geologic time.

Emphatically hand made, my work is biased toward process: growth, change and falling apart. I am immersed in the language of making, and thoroughly engaged with tactile, phenomenological experience while creating work that merges the somatic and mental imaginations.

I am interested in materiality, and how an object’s materiality carries meaning. Archaeologist Tim Ingold’s examination of the fluctuating, mutable nature of forms within their surrounding environments has been influential. Ingold points out that things appear to have agency because of the way they are “caught up in the currents of the lifeworld.” This quality of being in a constantly transitory relationship to mind and culture, physically and metaphorically, is an important property of all my work.

These pieces explore a morphogenic vocabulary of layered masses, planes and openings. The forms are packed together, both additive and layered yet also porous and eroded. They are multicolored and crenellated like a coral reef. Materials are varied: I use metal, wood, plastic, metal, paper clay, plaster, pigments, glass, concrete, rubber, shell and stone. Simultaneously bold and vulnerable, these works are half created and half destroyed. Holes penetrate the surfaces. Many pieces are bored completely through, revealing a hollow center like a vessel. The yielding texture of the paper clay retains the traces of making and indicates a haptic language of emotion.

Alternately funny and unsettling, the prefiguration of catastrophe, or what the writer Marianne Templeton calls “future ruin,” seems to live within the sculptures’ celebratory gestures and colors, with the breaks, cracking and abrasion on their surfaces at odds with their air of insouciance.

Linda Leslie Brown engages fragmented and reassembled remnants of a society hell-bent on technological progress, heedless of the warnings that are all around us.  Her recent sculptural work draws upon the transformative exchanges between nature, discarded objects and viewers’ creative perception.

She is the recipient of grants from The Artists’ Resource Trust / Berkshire Taconic Foundation, School of the Museum of Fine Arts Travelling Fellowship, St. Botolph Club Foundation, among others. Fellowship Residencies include Haystack Mountain School, Ballinglen Foundation, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Popop Studios International Artists’ Residency, Women’s Studio Center, Hambidge Center for the Arts, and I-Park, among others. She is represented by Kingston Gallery, Boston and AMP Gallery, Provincetown.

Brown is a Professor of Art + Design at Suffolk University, Boston, MA.