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Glenn Brown

Dark Star, 2003

Oil on panel

<p>Adopting imagery from a diverse array of artists—including Salvador Dalí, Frank Auerbach, and science fiction illustrator Chris Foss—Glenn Brown’s paintings transform his original sources into works of swirling, brightly colored paint. Copied from reproductions, his distortions project his manipulated figures into an eerily futuristic world. A direct quotation of Rembrandt van Rijn’s <em>A Bust of a Young Woman Smiling</em> (1633; Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden), <em>Dark Star</em> both captures and parodies the subtle expression of the original, yet still mimics its lush surface. Brown’s brushwork is actually thin, even glassy, rendering Rembrandt’s strokes utterly nontactile, their texture an illusion. The title, <em>Dark Star</em>, perhaps quoting the low-budget 1970s astronaut film of the same name, evokes the appeal of the science-fiction genre, serving to transport an Old Master painting into, or perhaps beyond, the realm of kitsch.</p>