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M. K. Brown – Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco

I was recently in San Francisco for a couple of days where I accidentally stumbled across an exhibition of M. K. Brown on display at the Cartoon Arts Museum. I had never heard of Brown before, and at first glance, I wasn’t sure if I would like her work; the style was a bit loose and exaggerated for my typical taste – but I was quickly won over. For starters, her sense of humour is hysterical – attacking quotidian life through absurd juxtapositions and philosophical epiphanies that estimable artists of comedy seem to exploit so easily (such as Bill Hicks, Monty Python, Dylan Moran, etc.). By way of example, check out Single’s Bar and some other examples on Rugged Claws. And the more I viewed the work, the more I liked her style, and found it well matched for the subject matter. She relies primarily on traditional pencil/ink/watercolour techniques, and I must say that seeing them in person was really valuable; the bits of pencil, tape and white-out seemed to ground the work and substantiate the time, care and passion put into making each panel. I’m kicking myself now for not picking up the catalog, but thankfully I see it is still available on Amazon.