Barbara Brown trained as a visual artist at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and completed her graduate work at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University, in England. Her thesis work was concerned with the production of large scale sculptural installations for architectural spaces using enlarged textile techniques. She has completed public commissions for the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario at Thunder Bay and Manchester Metropolitan University, England.
Brown has exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally, most recently in LifeCycle Conversations a collaboration with sculptor Cynthia O’Brien at Karsh-Masson Gallery, Ottawa and Beyond the Edge: Artist Gardens, where she created Red Oak Labyrinth, a 60’ walking path installation beneath a hundred year old oak tree. Brown completed a month long residency at Kingsbrae International Resident for the Arts in St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick, Canada where she focused on a series of deconstructed images of flowers. She participated in the International Artistic Residency Kala Chaupal in India where she collaborated with fellow artists to create Matka: A Portrait of Traditional Water Carriers.
Combining her artistic background and her interest in horticulture, Brown became a Horticultural Therapist in 2006, ultimately developing a year-round program of therapeutic gardening and working for 26 years in long term care with the frail elderly. She came to know and value the human connection with nature through the garden, an experience which has helped to hone her artistic interests and development.
Brown’s current work is photographic documents of ephemeral arrangements using natural materials as a visual meditation in and about the landscape. Her work deals with memory and the passage of time referencing the growing season and the inevitable decline of all things as observed in the garden. Her work functions as momento mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death as experience in the cycle of life. She works in her urban garden in Ottawa as well as forest locations in Eastern Quebec and is always looking for new environment to work in and explore.
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