2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Sara Slee Brown

Night Call
Sara Slee Brown, Iowa City, Iowa
Night Call, 2017, digital image and paper paste varnish, 12 x 18

My work is an exercise in exploring the known versus the unknown: order versus chaos. The foundation of the work is built on familiar, realistic people, places or things. This represents for me the known in our world.  Over, around and through this foundation I add other images or fragments of images that are not so easily identified.  When combined with the familiar they create a new reality which may not be as easily understood but nevertheless exists: a new perspective. The comfort of the familiar combined with the confusion of the unfamiliar is an expression of my experience in the world. The unexpected can crash down at any moment. Our shared reality, the familiar, connects us to each other, which provides an anchor we can hold on to when necessary.

I have always been an artist but I have not always made art. The second of four children, I am the oldest daughter of a doctor father and a painter mother in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I went to college in my hometown, majored in art, and received a BFA in Painting from the University of Michigan. I married right out of college, had two children and supported my husband throughout his education. We lived in Richmond, VA, New Orleans, LA, and Ann Arbor, MI before finally settling in Iowa City, IA, a small mid-western town that appreciates and strongly supports the arts. I earned my MA and MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa. In my early fifties I was treated for breast cancer with a mastectomy and a year of chemotherapy and radiation. I worked as a clerk and graphic designer at the public library for 20 years. Several years ago I left the library to fully focus on my art.