|Acquisition Number: 999.4
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Size: 44 1/2" x 65 1/2"
Credit: Purchased in Memory of Edward A. and Rosa J. Langenbach
Didactic: Carolyn Brady was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1937. She received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma at Norman.
Carolyn Brady was a leading photorealist painter, who worked exclusively in watercolor and focused on three subjects: tabletop tableaux, gardens and interiors—all of which included flowers. She once said, “I think that flowers are mediators between the human world and the spiritual world. I think that’s…why [people] like to see flowers, and have flowers”.
Brady began her career as a textile designer, working in the studio of Jack Prince, alongside Audrey Flack and Joseph Raffael. She was first drawn to use watercolors on paper because this approach shared qualities with fabric-dying. Though her subjects often allude to, or include elements of, the natural world, Brady worked from photographs, projecting them onto the paper. She preferred to use a dry brush with her paints so that the pigment would be instantly absorbed.
Brady’s monotypes have a life of their own, more expressive and impressionistic than her carefully rendered watercolors, on which she worked for several months at a time. The medias are different, each demanding in its own way. When Brady painted in watercolor she kept the brush dry so that the paint was immediately absorbed into the paper, using what she called “bits of paint” to create an image. The rigors of the monotype process required the artist to paint with ink on a metal plate, and complete the image within a day so that the plate could then be run through the press with the ink still wet.
When the Museum purchased “Tonalization”, Carolyn immediately donated her print “Atherium”. This print is an actual part of the image of “Tonalization” which just happens to be an image of flowers and the piano she and her son took lessons on.
She died in 2005 from heart problems.