Laurie Brown | American, 1937 -
Laurie Brown grew up in Los Angeles and, in her youth, enjoyed hiking and exploring the surrounding deserts and mountains. Based in Orange County for many years now, she is known for her panoramic photographs of the changing landscapes around Southern California and recently had a survey show at the Laguna Art Museum. She has documented a landscape in transition, an open, rural terrain becoming a man-made, built environment with mile after mile of suburban homes.
Early in her career, Brown was attracted to the new approach to landscape art represented in the earthworks of Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer. Another influence was her first photography teacher, Lewis Baltz, renowned for his images of industrial parks in Irvine.
Typically, Brown works in series, and in some, the format is a visual dialogue - between images of modern development and ancient sites, between the earth as seen from space and ground-level landscapes, between vintage views and contemporary ones. She resists the interpretation of her photography as simply a polemic against development or a plea for environmental awareness. For her the newly altered landscape speaks to older broader issues:
“These photographs represent my interest in landscape as archive - of both the exterior and interior, the seen and the unseen… As an artist, it has been important to me to explore and try to come to terms with our complex relationship to nature, both as individuals and as a culture.”
Laurie Brown’s work is represented in the collections of numerous museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside; the Huntington Library; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Philadelphia Museum of Arts; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.