Glenn Brown, CBE, (born 1966) is a British artist. He is known for the use of art historical references in his paintings. Starting with reproductions from other artist's works, Brown transforms the appropriated image by changing its colour, position and size. His grotesque yet fascinating figures appear to be painted with thick impasto, but are actually executed through the application of thin, swirling brushstrokes which create the illusion of almost photographically flat surfaces. The effect is powerful–often unsettling–creating an artistic language that transcends time and pictorial conventions. Brown sees these appropriations and oppositions as key to his approach.
Brown also places sculpture as a central point of his practice. They are created by accumulating thick layers of oil paint over structures or found bronze casts. His sculptures, deliberately emphasizing the three-dimensional quality of oil brushstrokes, stand in stark contrast to his flat paintings. The forms of his sculptures and the colour combinations used reference other artists’ paintings and sculptures.
In the last few years, Brown has extensively embraced drawing. Still conceptually rooted to art historical references, he stretches, combines, distorts and layers images to create subtle yet complex line-based works.
His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Centre d'Art Contemporain, France (2000); Serpentine Gallery, London (2004); Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2008); Tate Liverpool, England (2009), which travelled to the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2013); Rennie Collection, Vancouver (2013); Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles (2016); Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2016), Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati (2016), Rembrandt House, Amsterdam (2017), Museo Stefano Bardini, Florence (2017), Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK (2018), British Museum, London (2018) and Sprengel Museum and Landesmuseum, Hanover, Germany (2023).
Glenn's works have been part of numerous group exhibitions including The Saatchi Gallery (1995, 2014); Centre Georges Pompidou (2002, 2013, 2021); Venice Bienalle, Italian Pavilion, (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005); Gwangju Bienalle, Korea (2010); Kunsthalle, Vienna (2011); Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2012), Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain (2013), Centre George Pompidou Malaga (2015), Scottish National Galery (2018), Museum of Fine Arts-Hungarian National Gallery (2018) and British Museum, London (2019), Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki (2020), Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2021), Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, England (2021) and Louvre Museum, Paris (2022).
His work is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York and London and Galerie Max Hetzler in Berlin and Paris.
1992 Goldsmiths College, University of London, London.
1988 Bath College of Higher Education, Bath, England.
1985 Norwich School of Art, Foundation Course, Norwich, England.
Born 1966, Hexham, Northumberland, England.
Lives and works in London and Suffolk, England.
Glenn Brown was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in Queen Elizabeth II's 2019 birthday honours list for his service to the arts.