Quite City, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Quite City, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

In her latest body of work, Quiet City, American artist Deborah Brown captures the beauty and nostalgia found in everyday moments – in this case, daily walks with her dog Trout through her Brooklyn neighbourhood, often at golden hour as their shadows spill over sidewalks and roads.

The new oil paintings form part of the artist’s Shadow Series, which focuses on intimate scenes from her life and how it has been shaped by the social isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. In Quiet City, we get a hint at what Brooklyn was like when lockdowns and restrictions were in place. Structured around absence, the human protaginist can only be seen by their shadow, connected with a leash to a dog in the foreground. The shadows extend far into the distance, suggesting the time of day, creating odd distortions and pleasing patterns.

In each painting, we see all the structures and features common with urban spaces: road signs, telephone poles, traffic lights, fences, grates and spray-painted symbols. These are paired with Dionysian street murals that cover many of the New York neighbourhood’s buildings.

The landscape is devoid of other humans, suggesting an absence of life and that the protaginist and their dog might be the last inhabitants on earth. But with everything bathed in golden light, as the sun sets in the sky, there’s a feeling of warmth and hope. Brown’s paintings certainly take on extra meaning after a year of quarantine and isolation created by the global pandemic.

Roberta's, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Roberta’s, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Bike, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Bike, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

In an interview with Juxtapoz earlier this year, Brown explained what inspired the new work: “Since the pandemic, I have been walking every morning with my dog Trout through the industrial neighbourhood of East Williamsburg where my studio is located. I have been in this area for over 15 years but, since the pandemic, I began to notice the macabre, elongated shadows that my dog and I cast on the sidewalks where we walk and the lollipop-like stop signs and bare tree branches stretched like a cartoon across the broad, flat streets. It hit me all of a sudden that this would be a great subject to paint.”

She adds how it “perhaps reflects our tentative step out of the pandemic and out into the world again” and that “thankfully, it’s still there”.

On show at High Line Nine in New York City this month, Quiet City is part of Deborah Brown’s ongoing Shadow Series. Find out more at deborahbrownfineart.com or follow Brown on Instagram.

Wires, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Wires, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Hoop, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Hoop, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

'tel(vacancy), 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

‘tel(vacancy), 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

'otel, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

‘otel, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Call Box, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Call Box, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Double, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Double, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Red Arrow, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Red Arrow, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Candles, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

Candles, 2021 © Deborah Brown. Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery

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