Friday, November 12, 2010

Artists I'm Looking At: Joshua Bronaugh

The internet has an interesting way of bringing art to my attention. The art of Joshua Bronaugh came through my news feed a few weeks back and it's been open in my browser window since, for me to peruse while I'm working.

Lithuanian Love Song (27 x27")

The first thing that struck me about his work was that perfectly toed line between realism and abstraction that makes the work really dynamic and engaging. Joshua Bronaugh works with a number of mediums, the painting above is made with oil paint, motor oil, alkyd, and resin on canvas. Upon hearing this, the painting became very real to me, imagining the texture and smell the motor oil would produce. This painting in person would be very tactile, having an extremely thick, modeled surface.

Change is the Disease and the Doctor, Both (36 x 48")
Joshua Bronaugh's paintings feel enormous. When viewing them on his website, I imagined them to be quite large, perhaps 4 to 6 ft or so, but many of his paintings are in the 2 ft range, much the size that I've been currently working in. Which may be why he puts a disclaimer on his website:
Websites are the worst ways to look at paintings. Digital images are compressed, have poor color, have no sense of scale and simply do not glow like paint does. I would rather a person see one of my paintings through a window from across the street in the rain than have him see anything I have ever made online.
He makes a valid point. Paintings are physical things, they have a physical presence in a room. You really need to see them in person to appreciate them appropriately. Every monitor displays color with a slight variation which a painter cannot control.  However, that being said, it is important for contemporary painters to display their work online. Not every art enthusiast lives in New York or LA. I am a firm believer that art should be available to all, and as a child of the internet age, what better a place to display your work.

Black Monk (Swamp Thing) (24 x 24")
Nimbus (24 x 18")
I would love to see Joshua Bronbaough's work in person unfortunately I will not be in New York any time in the foreseeable future.

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