brian david downs


MFA Student

Major: Painting

Graduation Year: 2019

Artist Statement:

Brian David Downs is a keen observer, and a refined bohemian with a natural tendency towards “maximalism” in creative output. The art tends to carry a heavily critical and equally obvious tone -- describing various social, political, and religious topics, by utilizing modes and mechanisms provided by drawing and painting. The audience can experience a sense of appreciation for beauty and craft, obsession and commitment, while also feeling discomforted by a critical discourse through images-- asking the viewer to question their own spiritual to anatomical existence. Depicting skeletal and deteriorating states of the body, functioning in various narrative scenes, allows Downs to sidestep any romanticized notions of sexuality, race, or gender being applied to the work. This directs the viewer to contemplate the physical and psychological acts being depicted. The paintings and drawings tend to maintain a fractured visual structure containing moments of repetition, pattern, and obliteration. Compositions read a crystallographic balance to an op art disfiguration, causing various physical symptoms to overwhelm the viewer. Similarly, utilizing 20th-21st century technologies such as Epson printers, laser cutters, or CNC routers could be argued to function within a paint/drawing dialogue and printmaking as much as much as traditional modes of the past.


Brian David Downs was born in Tampa Bay, Florida and migrated with family back to their roots of Minnesota. Downs holds a BFA from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and an MFA from Maine College of Art. He continues creating bodies of work and tackling new mediums through a core practice of drawing and mark making. Downs has been a resident at the Bemis Center of Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE, and has exhibited his work at internationally between established institutions to the d.i.y. and grassroots upbringing that nourished his early creative life. He is known for prolific pace of creation and intensity of imagery effortlessly tying unlikely combinations of concepts together into a coherent digestible whole.