CSU Gallery Masters’ Exhibition hails students back to Ancient Greece

Greek mythology can be inspiring. It inspired the beloved Disney movie, “Hercules.” “Moulin Rouge!” is based on the Orpheus myth. Even the book series, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians,” is based on Greek mythology. 

Greek mythology inspired Sam Brown’s MA exhibition gallery in the Centennial Student Union Art Gallery, which is on display through March 24. He describes his pieces as “all over the place.” 

“With these painting series here, I’ve been interested in more or less narrative storytelling. All these are in some form of Greek myths,” said Brown. “I thought about the topic of Greek myth because it’s something that I’ve known ever since I was a little kid, but at the same time, it’s also been a huge focal point in the history of painting and definitely at this scale, and kind of going from right to left here.” 

Each of Brown’s four paintings tells a different Greek myth; Daedalus and Icarus, the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, the Minotaur and Odysseus being tied to the pole while he listens to the sirens. Of all his works, the one about the Minotaur is his favorite. 

“This red one is about the myth of the Minotaur and how the Euro ascends to the labyrinth and is tasked with slaying the Minotaur. The king’s daughter, the princess in the story, gave Perseus a golden thread to wrap around his ankle to find his way out of the labyrinth after he kills the Minotaur,” said Brown. “I kind of wanted to play around with this piece and make the Minotaur almost more of a sympathetic character, and I also wanted to experiment a little bit with the color of red. Just how visceral and how powerful it is.” 

Brown’s piece about Daedalus and Icarus leaves it up to the viewer to decide who is who. 

“I kind of wanted to experiment and to have a little play with the viewer where I want to leave the title to this work just Icarus, just something very simple and plain,” said Brown. 

Brown hopes that he can continue working on art when he finishes his master’s program. This is something he wants to do full-time. 

“I’ve been posting these onto my Instagram stories, and somebody has actually asked for the price for this one. So hopefully, I sell this one,” said Brown. “I know for a fact I have to do this with my life. There’s a need for me to keep on making these. I would love it if I were to make a living off just doing this. Actually, I would say that I would need to do it.” 

Students will notice that Brown’s work looks like an oil painting but isn’t quite that. It is a process he developed using cattle markers. 

“Cattle markers are essentially livestock markers really, and it’s oil paint with a wax base. So it dries quicker than typical oils. But at the same time, I also get that sort of drawer ability that I can achieve in comparison with just using a brush,” said Brown. 

To learn about upcoming art exhibits on campus, go to the MSU website and search for art galleries. 

Header Photo: The CSU Gallery art exhibition, pictured above, were all created by Sam Brown, Minnesota State Master’s Student. Much of his work is inspired by ancient Greek mythology. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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