By the time the painter Joan Brown, at 22, received her masters from the California School of Fine Arts, she had already achieved major recognition for works that brought Abstract Expressionist power to readable imagery. Brown was far from content. Cognizant of her ability to “fake spontaneity,” she went underground in 1964, rejecting the practice that had won her international acclaim. After three years, she re-emerged with paintings of animals in stylized landscapes. She continued on a figurative path. This exhibition presents works from the years after her hibernation. All can be traced back to milestones in her life—travels to Egypt, China, and India, a passion for swimming, and her relationship with her second husband, Gordon Cook. —E.C.
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