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Deborah Brown: Parts Unknown

Gavlak Palm Beach

Viewing Room Online

March 28 - June 28, 2020

Deborah Brown, Cove, 2019
Deborah Brown, Danaë and Zeus, 2018
Deborah Brown Fetch, 2020
Deborah Brown Scout, 2020
Deborah Brown Red Path, 2017
Deborah Brown Endless Summer, 2019
Deborah Brown, Climber, 2019
Deborah Brown, Last Swim, 2020
Deborah Brown New World, 2020
Deborah Brown Naïad, 2020
Deborah Brown Circe, 2020
Deborah Brown Beachcomber, 2020
Deborah Brown Night Rower IV, 2020

Press Release

Deborah Brown: Parts Unknown

Opening Reception: TBD

Gavlak Palm Beach | Online 🟢 Viewing Room 

GAVLAK Palm Beach is pleased to announce: Parts Unknown, a solo exhibition of paintings by artist Deborah Brown (American, b. 1955). This is the artist’s first solo show with the gallery, which will open online on March 27, 2020.

Deborah Brown’s paintings begin in her imagination and explore her own personal truth. Women, stripped of their protective and identifying clothing, navigate familiar landscapes as if in a dream. Their nudity makes them seem simultaneously vulnerable and powerful, as if they have returned to elemental or archaic origins. 

The female protagonists occupy a variety of spaces—walking on an ominous beach, journeying through the forest, paddling canoes--far from the quotidian activities of civilization. The presence of canine companions implies a departure or exile from a domestic setting, as well as an unseen threat that might require their protective services.  Using the ever-complicated but recognizable nude female form - at times expressive, in others stoic - the artist manages to capture a moment of internal analysis still unresolved, leaving the viewer to ponder the impending story-line.⁣⁣⁣⁣ 

Composed of vigorous brushwork and punctuated by dynamic lines and swaths of color, Brown's painting conveys a fractured, brooding landscape that mirrors the psyche and consciousness of her protagonist. Through a picaresque spirit, the artist channels classical myth, romantic fairy tales, and ominous science fiction to tell stories that intermingle mystery and idyll. These are stories that must be unraveled by the viewer; what is not revealed but eluded to in imminent tale forms a psychological tension within the plot. The viewer is led through a journey where his or her own imagination completes the narrative, heightening the possibility of its potential outcome. 

The compositions and their implied narratives sometimes suggest contemporary re- enactments of myths from antiquity and the Bible commonly found in the canon of Western Art. The artist’s decision to remove the male characters implies a new gender order in which the female characters appear unrestricted by assumptions of female vulnerability and dependence on male figures for their legitimacy. Brown revisits themes explored by male artists, subverting expectations and readings of familiar Western images while changing the dynamic of the male gaze. In her practice, the artist tries to suspend intellectual control over her characters' depiction so that the images might result from the painting process itself to create unexpected but desired resonances. 

Deborah Brown investigates the human figure and the looming implication of the untold story. Brown's paintings channel feelings of abjection, strength, and freedom, offering a subtext of feminine empowerment and artistic discovery.⁣⁣

For more information concerning the exhibition, or press inquiries, please contact John J. McGurk at, or +1(561) 833-0583.


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