Monday, January 26, 2015

Leslie Hall Brown

Leslie Hall Brown is a photographer and storyteller whose work focuses on her personal experience of the world, including her actual dreams. She draws on the enchantment of her childhood, having grown up in the Capital of Five Civilized Tribes surrounded by a rich American Indian culture and on her adult life as a psychotherapist and art therapist. Her close relationship with nature and animals is a constant underlying theme in her work.

Hall Brown holds a B.F.A in Photography and graduate degrees in Counseling and Social Work. She was a recipient of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, a finalist in The Clarence John Laughlin Award and received 1st, 2nd, 3rd places in Prix de La Photographie Paris. Portfolios of her photographs have been published in magazines including Shots, Photo Review, PhotoNews, New Letters, PH and PhotoWorld. Her work has been exhibited in the US, Germany, Mexico and Spain and received numerous national and international awards.

Born in Oklahoma, Hall Brown currently resides on a small farm in the Missouri Ozarks. She taught photography in the Art and Design Department at Southwest Missouri State University for many years along side her husband and fellow photographer Alan Brown before returning to graduate school in the mental health field and entering private practice.

Artist Statment: Cirque du Psyche

As a psychotherapist, I deal frequently with clients’ dreams and thus I wanted to create a series having to do with the psyche, in hope of plumbing inner demons and presenting them as do our dreams, in palatable, albeit confusing imagery. Cirque du Psyche combines matters of the psyche with that of the circus of days past. It is a dark place in which dreams reveal the inner workings of one’s demons and hold up a mirror reflecting back the unresolved issues as scenes from a circus peopled by anthropomorphized performers. 

Thomas Moore said in his book Care of the Soul, "Carnivals and circuses attract that element in the psyche that craves symbolic and dreamlike experiences". Before television and Hollywood the circus was a place to be entertained and shocked. Our greatest fears were played upon in tantalizing ways and we gladly submitted to being tricked. Like our dreams and nightmares, reality was twisted in strange and seemingly unbelievable ways. Yet there was enough grounding in reality to hook us and pull us in. The stuff of our waking life takes on many forms in our dreams, in our subconscious’ effort to show us what we are avoiding and ignoring. Each ‘circus act’ was constructed and then photographed. The images are marred as are our psyches, showing the signs of our history and aging. When one visualizes images from their dreams, they are often dark and confused, sometimes color, often black and white. They appear as vignettes, things fading in and out of focus and presenting layers of symbolism and metaphor. Each act in Cirque du Psyche is a visual metaphor for a psychic struggle.

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