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An Unanticipated Journey: Monotypes by Barbara Brainard

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When the dust finally settles on 2005, one salient fact will remain. However the politicians try to spin the storm, this was the year that saw the greatest mass migration in American history, bigger even than the flight from the dustbowl during the Great Depression. Like everyone else, artists found themselves scattered here, there and everywhere, but only those lucky enough to still have homes have had the luxury of being able to really reflect on the great Gulf diaspora. True to the view from the moving car window, Barbara Brainard's recent series of monotypes, Unanticipated Journey, is a sequence of landscapes seen in passing. Unremarkable on the face of it, they document the linear world along the road, the subliminal America that goes by in a blur. Most of us never really look at it. Brainard did, and the resulting monotypes have a random look, like freeze-frame film stills. Titles like High Wind Grand Isle, Between Dallas and Chicago, Evacuation Route I, Evacuate Route II and Outside Hattiesburg tell the tale, or rather, suggest the odyssey. Returning From Houston, a blink-of-the-eye panorama of birds on a wire is ordinary yet remarkable: when we flee a storm the birds do, too, so here birds on a wire are symbols of a fateful return -- to home -- wherever, however and whatever that might be. -- D. Eric Bookhardt
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