Like still waters, Stephen Brown's paintings reflect a pensive nature that belie something much deeper. Built on layers upon layers upon layers, Brown's oils physically manifest the psychological depths of his subjects. There's a calmness about his work that only comes from months and years spent meditating over the paintings by the artist as he works and reworks them. Layers of glazes allow viewers to glide across the painted surfaces, slowly exploring ripples created by artist's hand from origination to destination.
Stephen Brown attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Paining in Maine in 1972, where he studied with the figurative painter Alice Neel, later becoming her studio assistant. Their relationship had a profound influence upon his portraits. Brown's paintings "confront one with an unswerving directness", as stated in the 1994 exhibition catalog of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, when he won the Academy Award in Art in New York City.
While attending graduate school at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, he studied with world renowned artists Philip Pearlstein, Lennart Anderson and Lois Dodd. While in school, he had his first one man exhibit in 1978 in New York City at the Bowery Gallery in SoHo. Also during this time, Brown was involved with the Alliance of Figurative Artists in downtown, where artists met to discuss big ideas in reaction to abstraction and pop art.
Brown's work has been exhibited extensively, including at New Britain Museum of American Art, Hofstra Museum, New York Academy of Art, National Academy of Design, the National Academy Museum, the Arnot Art Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, Allan Stone Gallery, and Forum Gallery.
Robert Fishko, the notable director of Forum Gallery in New York and Los Angeles, was an enthusiastic ally. Fishko wrote in his 2004 catalog essay, "there is an honesty and clarity in Brown's approach...which makes the experience of viewing his work intimate. His paintings are small in size...but have emotional power... "