Wolves at the Table, 2020
Oil on wood
How do we know the things we think we know? In these days of declining baselines, when the world that sustains us is unraveling, this question takes on new importance. Instead of creating a literal narrative, I’d rather create visual poems that combine the scientific with the mythological. They aim to wear out the intellectual mind that tries to decipher the meaning. Once rational thought retires in exhaustion, we can explore worlds lost, with mysterious histories much stranger than we would have imagined.
This is a mythic American history told from the point of view of those who have been silenced. Included are the voices of humans, plants, and animals, communicated through waterways, bird migrations, prairie dog tunnels, and underground mycelial networks. Nineteenth century nature writers and landscape painters were concerned with celebrating beauty and conveying the sublime. Today we’re more interested in natural processes and humanity’s relationship with nature.
These are religious paintings for a religion that does not yet exist. They’re painted elegies to all that has been lost. They question the beliefs, the dreams, and the assumptions that inform our decisions. To make it through these times intact, we’ll need more than just creativity and compassion: we must carry a sense of awe and wonder through a field of endless possibilities.
Ian Brownlee is a painter and muralist based in Asheville, NC. He received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art and also studied at California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. His work has been featured in many publications, including “New American Paintings”.
Ian has painted a number of large-scale murals and has exhibited his work in galleries across the country. He is currently showing with Blue Spiral One gallery in Asheville.