Ross’ work channels the experience of urban space through the medium and history of painting. Taking influence from psychogeography and the Situationist’s dérive, his working process typically begins with direct experience of a particular location on foot. Visiting overlooked spaces, Brown foregrounds locations where the orderliness of the built environment is subverted; places where architecture and nature overlap and the regularity of the urban environment is challenged.
The artist engages with these transitory locations through the use of a painting process which pits rigidly constructed perspective against a variety of chance-based painting processes. Layering poured, smeared and dripped paint alongside more measured responses to the photographic subject matter, Brown constructs images which are a palimpsest of controlled and chaotic marks; mirroring the timeworn and fragmentary nature of his subject matter.
Placing emphasis on the technicalities of painting, the artist creates images that play with paint’s ability to construct an image whilst simultaneously undermining the illusion; painted stains and stray globs of material blend into the scene when viewed from a distance, but punctuate the surface on closer inspection. Sections of graffiti placed in parallel to the picture plane are read as gestures both within the work and on the surface of the canvas; frequently a “destructive” element or process is used to bring an element of unpredictability within an otherwise planned composition.
Writer Gemma Wheeler discusses Ross’ work as; “beginning with a rigidly controlled perspectival drawing, not unlike those of the architect, Brown builds up the painting by pouring, smearing and dripping paint onto the canvas. This process is demonstrative of the contrasting ways in which [a] building can be perceived. From one perspective, the perspectival drawing is an exercise in point plotting, privileging the form of the building by reducing its material fluctuations to a series of straight lines. The splattered and poured paint, on the other hand, privileges material over form and enables the properties of the paint to define the boundaries of the building.”
Brown’s work intends to depict the built landscape in a state of constant transition, as processes of construction and destruction interact over time, changing the urban fabric.