Eco-City: Paintings by Deborah Brown

On View November 18, 2008 – January 25, 2009

Brown’s large-scale works from Eco – City: Paintings by Deborah Brown in oil reveal the complex, uneasy balance between the natural and the man-made world, as the artist reflects on the tense, and sometimes humorous, intersection of these two incongruous elements in an urban setting.

Deborah Brown views herself as working in the tradition of such American landscape painters as Frederic Remington and Winslow Homer, though she redefines “landscape” in her own terms. In a series of pictures from 2007, wild animals and birds appear in unexpected places, often in juxtaposition to iconic New York City landmarks. A doe stands in front of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, the site of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, staring out at the viewer as if startled by his or her presence. A pigeon walks along the platform of an elevated subway station, occupying only a small portion of the picture. A heron in silhouette flies past another relic of the World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion, in a panorama that exaggerates the perspective of the architecture and its relationship to the landscape.

Brown’s paintings from the past year reflect her growing interest in the impact that technology has on the aesthetics of the urban environment. This is demonstrated, for example, in her focus on utility poles with their chaotic coils of wire stretching across the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn where her studio is located. A richly-hued sky that is the backdrop to these scenes is interrupted only by dramatic, black tangles of telephone wire, street lights, and birds in flight. The contrast between nature and culture creates a disturbance that gives the viewer pause to consider the ramifications of what is seen.

A graduate of Indiana and Yale Universities, Brown has produced a great variety of public art installations in addition to her oil paintings. In 1994 she received a commission from New York City’s MTA Arts for Transit to create a mosaic mural for the Houston Street subway station in lower Manhattan, and has done similar projects for public transit networks elsewhere in this country. Her work has been widely exhibited in both solo and group shows throughout the United States, and is represented in prestigious private and public collections. She lives and works in New York City.

As a member of the American Association of Museums, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is  committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. The Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 11,000 elderly persons in greater New York through its resources and community service programs. Museum hours: Sunday – Thursday, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 718 581-1596 for holiday hours and to schedule group tours, or for further information please visit our website at

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.