Friday, February 25, 2011

Artist Exchange: Laurene Krasny Brown

At the Fine Arts Work Center Residency event held on February 16 at the Copley Society of Art, fine and applied paper artist Laurene Krasny Brown spoke of her recent artist residency at the Apothiki Art Center in Paros Cyclades, Greece. The residency lasted for six weeks, and was funded by the Leighton International Artists Exchange Program, a project of the Kansas Artists Coalition. 
Street Outisde Apotheki Studio
Krasny Brown immersed herself in the culture, allowing Greek life and history to find its role in her art. She states: “When you travel, for me, your attention is always heightened. You see more, you hear more. And it is so hard to sustain that in everyday life, that attentiveness. The idea that I could have that sensitivity and use it and just be able to focus on my work and sort of part the waters of my life for a bit and not have a lot of other life responsibilities and be able to do this work – it seemed to me such a luxury and such an opportunity.”
In Greek, the work apothiki roughly translates to the ‘storage of precious things.’ Even before arriving in Greece, Krasny Brown began working with this theme, preparing a series of lithographic monoprints of ancient Greek amphorae to amend while she was there. The paper piece Amphora Archaeology was created as response to the experience of viewing ancient Greek pottery in the museum with the pieced-together shards. 

Amphora Archaeology
In addition to sacred and venerated vessels, Krasny Brown also turned her interest to working with common vernacular objects. “Once I got to Athens I was not only thinking about the storage of precious things, but I also started thinking of the storage of not so precious things… coffee filters, tea bags, endless, endless things.” Paper Bags Clothesline is a set of six blue plastic bags, flattened out nicely, and hung upside down. She explains that “To me they were really beautiful …it’s the story of not so precious things.”

Plastic Bags Clothesline
In the past, Laurene Krasny Brown has worked as a children’s book author and illustrator, a developmental researcher, counselor, and teacher, but now the call to make fine art is her chosen passion, and she pursues it fervently. She finds inspiration from revered artists such as Matisse, Alexander Calder, and Sol Lewitt, in addition to recognizing artistic expression found in home-made goods, such as folk art, hooked rugs, or woven baskets. Visit her website,, for more information on the artist. 

Clips from Krasny Brown's Artist Exchange talk can be seen here:

Laurene Krasny Brown: FAWC Artist Exchange Feb. 16, 2011 from Copley Society of Art on Vimeo.

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