His Royal Highness, Lord Gravy of the Creek.
“Southerly Winds and a High in the Mid 90s”, 1999
In this painting of a 9-banded Armadillo, Pen’s influence from the Pacific Northwest Coast still is readily identifiable. Now, however, she chooses a non-traditional animal and sets a non-objective background to suggest a sense of depth, both concepts are a schism from typical NWC art.
Pen Brady at work in her studio in 2011. Photo by Cait Brady.
“Night Embrace, 1997”. This is one of the earliest paintings by Pen Brady that has been digitized for print production. Strongly influenced by Pacific Northwest Coast art, this image lacks the abstract background shapes found in her more recent works.
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your own path.”—the Buddha
Influenced with the totemic art style of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Pen Brady began experimenting with the style. Her earliest works were in flavor with animals constructed with common components, such as the split “U”, Flicker feather, orbits, human hands, and other traditional shapes. Subjects that frequent Tlingit, Salish, and Haida art—crows, bears, orcas, hawks, et.al—also were seen in Pen’s work as well.
AeroBison was the first of her paintings to gently break away from those traditions. The animal is still constructed from similar designs, but a new element is introduced—a background. The classic Northwest Coast animals floated on a blank backdrop. In this painting, the subject is defined in the forground by a sun partially obscured by mountain peaks and a suggested prairie of grasses in the background, giving a dimensional feel to the scene. An even more subtle division is the buffalo itself, which is a non-traditional animal for the Northwest Coastal region. The change had begun.
A couple of paintings continued in the old style, but the importance of the foreground/background relationship was born. She had embarked on a new perspective of the abstracted components that creates recognizable images. No creature or plant was out of her reach to develop as her subject in her now unique style.