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Collage artist Teresa Booth Brown awarded Marion Fellowship grant

Submitted Photo Pictured is Teresa Booth Brown. Brown recently received the Marion Fellowship grant.

Teresa Booth Brown, an artist and teacher known for her use of collage in oil painting, mixed-media drawings and printmaking, has been awarded the 2019-2020 Marion International Fellowship Grant for the Visual and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Fredonia for “Neo-Quietism,” a project that explores the physical engagement between viewer and artwork.

“I am interested in that moment when the viewer mutes the rhetoric, theory, the buzz, around a painting and experiences it in their viscera,” Ms. Brown wrote in her grant application. “The historical or art critical context of such an artwork is never far away and it asserts itself soon enough, but this project takes as its premise the potential of artwork to create an experience that is outside of language.”

Art stops the viewer in his/her own tracks, Brown explained. It creates a moment of mental quiet; it grips him or her in the immediacy of color, line and composition. “If it can be sustained, this mode of physical consciousness gathers in the fragmented viewer, usually pulled apart by the demands of their attention, back into their body and mind,” Brown added.

Brown’s project presumes that this restorative quality is to be found in the abstract, non-representational nature of all art. Aesthetic qualities that calm rather than fuel the churning of ideas are found, hiding in plain sight, within representational pictures.

“I intend to identify and explore ways of painting to create a second register of experience, that of a direct physical response to formal qualities. A cultivation of this faculty connects viewer to self-knowledge and ultimately grounds them in a reality lost in the chatter of discourse,” Brown stated in her application.

Now in its seventh year, the Marion Fellowship was created through the Fredonia College Foundation by June Miller-Spann, director of Development at Fredonia, for Fredonia alumna Cathy Marion and her husband, Jesse, to support artistic journeys that lead to new opportunities for collaborative artistic excellence that are affiliated with Marion Fellowship Circle member institutions. The grant provides up to $18,000. Fredonia faculty are eligible to apply for the fellowship.

“Jesse and I are very excited to watch Teresa Brown’s creative journey unfold as she begins to make and connect art with diverse communities,” Ms. Marion said. “We are intrigued with Teresa’s ability to develop individual heightened visual experiences through learned exercises. Her depth and breadth of outreach from juvenile detention centers to art museums, and La Napoule Art Foundation in the South of France, validates the need and desire for art in our society.”

There are two components to Brown’s project: creation of a body of work (paintings) which embody ideas of restoration, meditation and peace; and creation of art-making experiences, exercises and opportunities which allow for every participant to experience contemplation, restoration, meditation and peace.

Project research and development, the first phase of Brown’s artistic journey, was scheduled at Chautauqua Institution during Week 7 of its 2019 season. “Grace: A Celebration of Extraordinary Gifts” is the theme of the week of Aug. 3 to 10. A residency devoted to project creation is planned in the fall at Ucross Foundation, a ranch in northeastern Wyoming that accommodates artists, writers and composers. The development and experimental phase will take place at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Alberta, Canada, in the spring of 2020.

At the conclusion of each artistic journey, the Marion fellow travels to the Fredonia campus to make a public presentation and participate in individualized learning through master classes and classroom discussions with students and faculty. Brown’s campus visit, which will also include a public art-making workshop, will be held in the fall of 2020.

“I am so pleased the Marions are supporting this kind of explorative artistic journey, and will very much enjoy following and facilitating Teresa’s progress and process creating beautiful art and bringing it to be experienced by diverse communities,” said Fredonia School of Music Associate Professor Sarah Hamilton, who is administering the Marion Fellowship.

Brown is the artist program coordinator of the Aspen Art Museum. She also teaches at the Pitkin County Jail and serves on the summer faculty of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, all in Colorado, and also on the summer faculty at La Napoule Art Foundation in France.

Collage materials that Brown uses come from a wide range of sources, including fashion magazines, discarded teaching materials and obsolete textbooks. Her work is distinguished by strong color, abstracted imagery and architectural geometry.

Brown studied at Reed College, the Museum Art School and Bennington College, and has been awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Ucross Foundation, the American Academy in Rome and the Campo Artist Colony in Uruguay.

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