Manuelita Brown does something few mortal humans can do. She freezes time.
A gifted sculptor, Brown shaped the minds of viewers with her memorable bronze sculptures portraying women at an exhibit in the Southwestern College Art Gallery.
A mother supporting her pregnant belly makes promises to her unborn child. Although the sculpture was small in size, the emotion is enormous.
“Nikki,” a sculpture of a young woman sitting with her legs crossed, was the embodiment of purity in youth. With her eyes closed yet looking up, it was enough to feel Nikki’s meditative state. Intricate details of her face made the piece come alive.
“Boxed In,” a small piece portraying a frazzle-haired woman trapped inside a box, showed the vulnerability of women. Her body curved and her legs bent where the edges met, making her seem as though she was trapped with no escape. Restricted by the space, untouched by the outside, this woman seemed to be caving in from the rest of the world. It was one of the strongest – and saddest – pieces in the room.
A former math teacher, Brown is known for her local works such as the bronze dolphins at University Towne Center mall, the Triton at the UCSD and the Child of Encinitas.
She retains her mathematician’s respect for accuracy and exactitude.
Every wrinkle, every hair in her sculptures was purposeful and organic.
“Verity 1” was the shape of a woman standing looking down, but with her hair tied up and away from her face. On top of a bronze square, this piece had the texture of a light green polished stone slowly integrating itself with the bronze bottom. Smooth features were done and though the face seemed expressionless, her sight facing the ground was enough to make an impact.
All of Brown’s work had a great mix of emotions, a sign that this talented woman poured herself into her art. Strength, beauty and different aspects of femininity came alive. Every body type was well represented. Her work was enough to stir up some excitement outside the student art gallery.
Brown’s admiration for women was deeply felt in every piece. Her next project is a large-scale sculpture of Sojourner Truth. Much like Truth, Brown, is unstoppable, her hands and creative soul finding their own unforgettable truths.