Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting:
Paintings by Mia Brownell 2003-2013 at the Housatonic Museum of Art
Aug. 25, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact Robbin Zella (203) 332-5052
Still Life with Double Double 2006
Oil on Canvas
Bridgeport, CT —Twenty-eight of Mia Brownell’s paintings will be on display at the Housatonic Museum of Art in the Burt Chernow Galleries from September 25th thought November 17, 2014. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 25, from 5:30pm until 7pm. This event is free and the public is cordially invited to attend.
Luscious and sensuous, Mia Brownell’s paintings invite us to indulge in “earthly delights” and are themselves ripe with sexual innuendo. Jennifer Anne McMahon writes in her essay, Beauty, that “evolutionary psychologists explain beauty as the kinds of tones and contrasts and shapes which are a sign of fecundity in a person (usually a female). Beauty is conceived as simply a sublimation of desire whose original teleology is procreation.” The surfaces of her canvases, laden with gorgeous fruit at the peak moment of perfection, allude to carnal appetites. Author Elspeth Probyn says that “…sexuality is often paired with food as a way of exploring different modes of sensuality.” Brownell walks a fine line between the artistic and the interesting, whetting the viewer’s appetite by stimulating the senses yet creating a space for detached contemplation.
Still Life with Sweet Dreams
Oil on canvas
And what Brownell asks us to contemplate is the brevity of life. “We begin in the madness of carnal desire and the transport of voluptuousness,” wrote the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “we end in the dissolution of all our parts and the musty stench of corpses.” Seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings of tables laden with gastronomic delights served to remind viewers that all things perish but Brownell’s fruits invite us to relish the sweetness of now.
Although Mia Brownell’s paintings “may recall classical Vanitas paintings, her food-based compositions also invoke contemporary food politics. A critic of the food industrial complex, Brownell creates a juxtaposition between the natural and artificial, modeling her opulent still-lifes after molecular structures. Her depictions of shiny apples, bead-like caviar and juicy grapes look almost too good to be edible, hence the title of her upcoming traveling solo show, Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting. The exhibition, which premiered at J. Cacciola Gallery in New York, is a ten-year survey of Brownell’s paintings (2003-2013) travelled to the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey, Juniata College Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the final stop at Housatonic Museum of Art in Connecticut."
Gallery hours: Monday- Friday from 8:30am until 5:30pm, Thursdays until 7pm, Saturday from 9am until 3pm and Sunday Noon until 4pm. For further information contact Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art at or (203) 332-5052. Visit the HMA website: www.HousatonicMuseum.org.