This is a painting of post-war America, moving forward, busy, hustling, streaming into the future. The flag shows that we were the winners, we had beaten back Japan, gone over and kicked Uncle Fritz right in the monocle! We were getting ready for the boom, the best years of our lives, of all lives, ever.
And yet, here, no one is looking at you. Every back is towards you, as if you didn't matter. As if you were the one being left behind.
This one hurts. It really does. It is a painful reminder that not everyone goes on to the bigger and the better and the best. Some of us watch the backs of those with ambition or connection or innovation or whatever. We are at the back of the pack, watching as the stream flows away from us, while we are the stones the creek flows over, maybe making a ripple, but often not even that.
Christopher Brown is a helluva painter. This work was created, then sanded, then re-painted, and thus it makes it feel imprecise, or perhaps more accurately, like a memory fading. By the time he painted it in 1992, the memory was fading, we were no longer that America of 1946, fresh off the bomb and V-E and every other cliche. We were still moving away, still reaching for a new tomorrow, but it was nothing like what those Pamplonaing away from us would recognise. The painting of 1992 would be the same idea, different clothing, different timing, but the same idea; not every one moves ahead.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.