Charles Browning

Beauty Trap 2011

Schroeder Romero Gallery, NYC

We are in the habit of looking. We are in the habit of looking at Beauty. In a blue, green and brown world we respond to the rarity of other colors. That almost involuntary response is the entry point, the hook to begin the engagement. Layers of color and compositional complexity piled one on top of another create a surfeit of visual riches, sucking you in to lose yourself in the minutiae: How many water drops are there? Oh, I didn’t see that bug before! The trap is sprung.

Many of Browning’s paintings utilize the Dutch floral still life as an allegory for excess, consumption, and colonialism. The catastrophe of desire lurching towards its goal. Even the painting itself, in its labor and luxury, stands for the thing it represents. The visual, sensual, material, and artistic tumult is reveled in and interrogated. Reality is contingent. Beauty, History, Representation, are all questioned and problematized. The painting depicts a trap; the painting is a trap.