DAN'S PAPERS, August 27, 2010 Page 18 www.danshamptons.com
Honoring the Artist: Brittany Brett Looking at the website of Brittany Brett reveals fascinating myriad images, many featuring horses like the one on this week’s cover. At first, we are struck by the varied styles, including Realism, Expressionism and Cubism. At second glance, it occurs to this critic that what binds the images together is a sense of magic realism and fantasy. Consider the galloping horse or the horse caught in mid-air. Or the girl lying on the floor next to a horse. There’s a dreamlike aura surrounding the figures, a pervading sense of movement. Brett’s black and white photographs offer a different worldview, somewhat more realistic yet also with a literal slant: for example, people on the Paris streets. Yet their identifying characteristics are the shoes they are wearing or skateboards they are carrying, seen from a bird’s-eye view. Nowadays, Brett lives in Manhattan’s Chinatown, far away from the fantasy world her subjects inhabit. She’s been there for two months and is in the process of getting settled. Q: Why come to New York, especially Chinatown, after you’ve lived in so many places? A: I lived in San Francisco near Chinatown there, so this was familiar. I like talking with the people here, although I can’t speak Chinese. Actually, I came to New York to become a relevant artist, a move I knew I would always make. I have also lived in France and the UK. Q: Where else can you see yourself living or visiting and why? I know you are interested in different world cultures. A: I’d like to go to Africa and Mongolia, bringing awareness of cultures to other people. Q: What is it about Mongolia that attracts you? A: The ties with its Nomadic ways. Q: Which includes their horse culture. Remember the documentary about an autistic child and his parents who went to Mongolia; he got help from the people there and their horses.
A: Yes I saw that film. I know I’ll get there. Q: Coincidently, you also worked with handicapped children, training them in therapeutic riding. A: Yes, my mother started a nonprofit training center called “Hopes, Dreams and Horses“ in Florida. I remember one child who could not speak, but he spoke one word, the name of his horse, when he was working with us. Q: There are other issues about horses you care deeply about. A: Yes, the wild horses in North East California; my goal is to make people aware of this issue and the horse kidnapping, for example. After all, horses were here before we were. Q: We can see why horses are important to you. How about the importance of the horse on the cover? A: It was the first horse I ever had. I hope it can serve as catharsis for people, providing a great release of emotional tension. Q: You also photograph people, you studied both painting and photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. A: I’m interested in the human form and did street photography in Paris. I was interested in body language, from people in gowns to soldiers. They were complete strangers, and they all had stories to tell. Q: Even in New York, are you still sketching people? A: Yes, I sketch people all the time, sometimes when it’s slow in the restaurant where I work. Q: You have done so many things. What’s your eventual goal? A: I hope to change something in the world. Perhaps start a non-profit organization, to go to a different place where I can sell people’s artwork. This world needs a lot of help. —Marion Wolberg Weiss Brittany Brett’s work can be seen at brittanybrett.com
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Published on Aug 27, 2010
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