• Virtual Still Life #26
    Bread Basket With Dust Bowl, 1996
    SAIC/Roger Brown Estate Painting Collection

From 1966 to ’71, Roger Brown’s work appeared in a series of group shows curated by Don Baum at the Hyde Park Art Center. Known for fanciful, cartoonish work with a pop-culture influence, Brown and the other exhibited artists came to be identified collectively as the Chicago Imagists. Now Brown’s work is back at HPAC in a new exhibition called “Roger Brown: Calif U.S.A.”

The second half of the title comes from the inscription carved on many of the ceramics Brown bought to display and incorporate into his artwork. He was an avid, talented collector, and his many flea-market and thrift-store purchases wound up in installations he constructed for his home and studio in La Conchita, California.

The show includes Brown’s mid-90s Virtual Still Life series: abstract landscape paintings paired with ceramics that sit on shelves built into the paintings’ frames. Interspersed with the paintings are shrine-like arrangements of objects—Mexican and southwestern folk art, pop-culture miscellany, a skillful paint-by-numbers piece by Aldo Piacenza—that once adorned Brown’s house.