Guilty Pleasures

"'Guilty Pleasures: 120' massages our cerebral feel-good centers as we pull down the shades, close the door, binge fearlessly on the couch, or open the refrigerator almost completely without judgment. That’s where the guilt comes in."  —  Lynn Stein, curator


I'm excited to be creating a diptych for the "Guilty Pleasures" exhibition curated by Lynn Stein, and hosted by Bell-ans Center of Creative Arts'  V°LITION Gallery in Orangeburg, NY. On View Aug 5th - Sep 10th.  (Gallery Hours Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 2pm) — Reception & Dance Party Aug 5th 7:30pm - 10:30pm — karaoke • dancing • food • libations • tickets

Charis J. Carmichael Braun, "I Do / What I Want" (diptych) 2017, acrylic and oil on canva, 16 x 12 in., each.

Charis J. Carmichael Braun, "I Do / What I Want" (diptych) 2017, acrylic and oil on canva, 16 x 12 in., each.

Asked by the curator to provide a statement and reaction to the theme, 

Taking cues from my early work of vulnerable self-portraits and anecdotal still lifes, my diptych for Guilty Pleasures steps into "the confessional." 

A gathering of personal thirtysomething things that I take pleasure in but about which I feel also guilty: obsessively chewing on my fingertips until they're bloody, making lists to procrastinate about, electro/dance/synthpop music at diskothek volumes, high-carb schmancy beer, insta all day, perniciously white-middle-class scented candles in a virtue signaling petroleum-free soy wax and pretty jar-I-can-use-again (purchased after sniffing the entire shelf at Tar-zhay), and a half "baked" apple garnished with white "cheddar" popcorn. 

I am drawn to contrasts. Originally from Minnesota, I grew up writing into myself a core theme in Lutheran theology - the ability to be two opposite things simultaneously. For example: God+Man, Dead+Alive, Sinner+Saint. Consequently, I find my most engaging subject matter when I blend what I consider to be opposing concepts so that it is difficult to see where one ends and the other begins. But let's be honest (I'm confessing here, right?): I am conflicted about wanting to be an artist. Justifying my artistic practice to myself, my subconscious constantly drips that art is not useful (guilt!), is gratuitously self-indulgent (shame!) but this is what I'm skilled at (joy!), and can't you just see the glorious color of that light in the air?

Encouraged by both the permissiveness of the theme of this exhibition as well as the responsibility to follow through, I made two works and opened myself a little wider to the pleasure part of painting. Interestingly, I don't feel guilty at all for painting nudes. Writing pretentiously snarky artist statements though - ooh, that's a guilty pleasure indeed.





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