Nude women, including herself, are the 27-year-old artist's primary subjects—women together in private moments, women in love, women looking straight at you from the linen canvasses on which they're painted. Browning thrives on depicting moments of intimacy and creating a narrative for each of her pieces—like in the image on this week's cover. "Saturday" shows a nude Browning embracing her former girlfriend, Kelly, from behind in a moment recognizable to anyone who's ever been in love.
"It doesn't have a particular story to it," says Browning, who moved to San Diego from Wisconsin with Kelly, her first girlfriend, three years ago. "But when I see it, I can remember that exact day, and I can remember how the light was, and I can remember how it smelled. I can remember all of it."
Browning acknowledges that her pieces can be racy, but not in the way people expect. She just likes to explore the boundaries of privacy through her work.
"You have a naked woman in a painting, and usually in the old-school way [of making art], she would be looking away or she would slightly be showing modesty," Browning says. "But you suddenly have that same figure looking at you, and that confrontational gaze makes people uncomfortable. Suddenly, you're making this a real person, and then you add on top of that some kind of actual sexual element to it, a lot of people are uncomfortable with it."
While she has no qualms about displaying her body in her work or making art that's sexually suggestive, Browning admits to being more modest "in real life." She even felt a tad embarrassed when her mom came to her last art show.
"In a lot of ways, my paintings are pretty traditional because they're just these realistic, portrait, figurative-based paintings," she adds.
"But I feel like since they are pretty personal—some of them are fairly sexual—it's just the content. I've had paintings pulled from shows because they decided at the last minute that it was too scandalous to have. Even if there was no nudity showing, but it was the suggestion of it."
Browning will show and sell her sexy, lady-loving art at Art of Pride, an exhibition happening during the San Diego Pride Parade and Festival from Friday, July 12, through Sunday, July 14, on the festival grounds in Balboa Park.
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