Melissa Brown - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “I make paintings, animations, and performances that explore what is otherworldly about ordinary experience. I use a collage of techniques— observational oil painting, stencil, airbrush, and photo-silkscreen— to create a multi-registered view of reality.”
    — Melissa Brown

    Melissa Brown’s oeuvre is best characterised by intriguing interpretations of everyday scenery. By adding a touch of surrealism to her imaginative landscapes, the artist imbues her work with an abstract quality, inviting viewers to step inside her dreamlike world of unreality. In Brown’s quest to explore form and perception, she draws inspiration from the different facets of life, influenced by everything from lottery tickets and nail art to ukiyo-e prints and traditional landscape painting.


    The Royal Palm, executed in 2019, perfectly encapsulates Brown’s aesthetic. A combination of muted tones and mundane imagery evoke a relaxing sense of calm and nostalgia, yet the space is foggy with uncertainty. Our view of the subject is distorted through the wine glass, their uncanny face stretched and warped in a disturbing manner. The only other figure is a single silhouette in the window, barely noticeable in the periphery, amplifying the painting’s unsettling aura.


    René Magritte, Les valeurs personnelles, 1952,
    Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
    © 2022 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    Skilfully enhancing regular scenery with hints of abstraction, Brown plays with the concept of liminal space and experiments with both the unnerving and the fantastical. Her expressive, enticing dreamscapes have been widely exhibited in numerous solo shows, most recently NYNY2020 (2020) and Between States (2018) at Derek Eller in New York City. Her works are also part of the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the New York City Department of Education. For her refined skill and unique artistic approach, she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2012.             


    • Provenance

      Derek Eller Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


The Royal Palm

signed, titled and dated '"THE ROYAL PALM" Melissa Brown 2019' on the reverse
Flashe, acrylic and oil on dibond
149.9 x 198 cm. (59 x 77 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for HK$126,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022