Artist Inga Kimberly Brown’s saturated colorful and wryly humorous work embodies such hybridization along with her Southern-based “tri-racial heritage.”
Whether from her West Philadelphia home or her studio on North Broad Street’s Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, painter/video-maker Inga Kimberly Brown has forever spoken from a towering place of enlightenment, of grace and the diverse richness of family and mixed ethnicities, colors, and religion.
In the same way that Brown sees her work as a “hybrid of cultures and races,” her saturated colorful and wryly humorous work embodies such hybridization along with her Southern-based “tri-racial heritage.” Her most recent oil paintings – a series of mashed male nudes – are on sewn canvas panels with 3-D objects attached with threads, organic materials (e.g., eggshells), and opulent materials such as 24-karat gold leaf – all in a presentation of “ritual and tradition” and “of the experience of a real ghetto and the drama and secret or unknown behaviors that go on in it.”
The daring that has gone into her paintings, past and present – that same sense of the ghetto and the griot – has gone into new video installations such as “Anatomy of a Negress.” Self-filmed, and with a naked Brown wrapped in mummy-ish gauze, she considers the modern black experience and its mediation (e.g., Solange’s “A Seat at the Table”) and speaks to her own experiences in the neighborhood in which she currently lives. “I want to convey the feeling of being invisible, with invisible people – recognizable and mythological – around me.”
That all of this is part of Brown’s first-ever “body of work” retrospective exhibition, “Presenting The Damn Thing” at the 40th Street Artist in Residence Art gallery (4007 Chestnut Street) surely means that she’s shedding a skin and onto to something dynamic as her next phase.