A while back, the talented and winsome winner of the first season of ‘Work of Art”, Abdi Farah, posted the following on Facebook and Instagram regarding the work of Jacqueline Humphries, “Everyone in New Orleans needs to see this show. All other painters should rethink their life and seriously consider retirement.”
Perhaps all other painters, I’ll add, with the exception of Teresa Booth Brown, whose work always leaves me feeling similarly simultaneously elated and deflated.
It was online where I was first introduced to the work of the Boulder-based abstractionist who shows at Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver and regularly teaches at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO. In fact, this year she’ll be the interim Artistic Director of Painting, Drawing & Printmaking at the ranch over the summer and into the fall.
From the very first image I saw of her work, I was hooked. I find echoes Diebenkorn and Rauschenberg imbedded in the many thin layers of paint she employs. Her color sense and compositional sensibilities are stunning, leaving me wondering how the same white canvas (more likely a wood panel, even a hollow core door at times) and the employment of ordinary colors available to us all can result in work so extraordinary.
I asked Teresa if she’d indulge me with one of my pastimes, viewing the work spaces of other artists and craftspeople, and she accommodated with some photos of her studio, some thoughts on her working methodology, as well as with bonus shots of her studio at the American Academy in Rome in 2012.
Currently, besides gearing up for the Anderson Ranch gig, Teresa’s been creating new work for an upcoming show, Color: Works by Teresa Booth Brown at the Denver Botanic Gardens, with an opening reception on May 24 from 5:30 – 7:30 and an Artist’s Talk at 6:30. The exhibit is organized in collaboration with her Denver, CO-based gallery, Michael Warren Contemporary.
Teresa Booth Brown creates her wonderful artwork – often, as in the examples above and below, paintings layered with elements of paint, collage, and drawing – on the Colorado farm where she and her family live.
Of the following photo, she writes,
This is a studio on the farm where I live and work. It is an old grainery. I worked in this studio for about eight years until rodents and snakes drove me to a nicer location.
On the wall in the photo are oil and collage paintings from 2010 & 2011, all 12″ x 24″ to 12″ x 48″. Many are diptychs or triptychs.
I like to work on many pieces at once and always work on them flat, but looked at them on these ledges. That way, I could turn the paintings different directions while working on them and not commit to a top and bottom until the end.
The next two photos are of Teresa’s studio at the American Academy in Rome, Italy, in 2012. Of the experience, she writes,
I had the very fortunate opportunity to work in this ancient studio in Rome in 2012 as a visiting artist at the American Academy. It was in a building where a famous supper was held to celebrate Galileo.
While in Rome I worked on a series of drawings where I rubbed graphite powder into the pages of an anatomy book. I then made new images on top of the originals by erasing through the graphite. I ended up finishing about 20 drawings and starting another 15. I conceived of this drawing project because it was portable and would allow me to continue a current vein in my work, but allow me to incorporate the influences of a foreign city.
The studio has undergone an expansion since originally writing this post – I would ask her for new photos but she’s busy, and then again we don’t really need another unnecessary opportunity to covet all things Booth Brown.
Of her current studio, pre-expansion, she writes,
People have many thoughts about cleanliness and organization and the relationship of those conditions with creativity. I think individual artists just need to create the environment which best suits their way of working.
I am completely Knoll and would probably rate around a Donald Judd-like 1.5, as I do not require perfection but enjoy order. I keep my space very clean and organized. My mind needs those circumstances in order to work well. So many people exclaim surprise when they visit my studio, because in their minds, artists’ studios are Francis Bacon-like. Neither is wrong, although I think I might feel the need to defend my need for order. Both are conditions which different artists require for their creativity.