Lora Schlesinger Gallery
By Amy Kaeser
Through February 25th
Peripheries, Richard Bruland’s fourth solo showing at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery, located in Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station, presents a new series of paintings which focus on the way the eye sees and perceives, and what lays on the outer edges of our vision. Bruland’s emphasis in this new body of work plays with the tension created by the edge of the frame and what lies within the chaos of the colorful acrylic layers of paint. Controlled by the hand of the artist, the panels are sanded down, thus revealing natural peaks and valleys of paint underneath. If the colors chosen for a particular work are bright and vibrant, the wash on top subdues them from being too forceful, as seen in Bella Andajina, 2016, a 30 x 30 acrylic painting on panel. Within the work on the edge of the muted white wash, the true color is exposed—only a sliver revealed but directs the viewer’s eye to the outer edge none-the-less.
As with all the paintings of this series, the physical nature of each work is inherent. It would be hard not to compare aspects of Bruland’s work with an artist like Jackson Pollock, whose all-over compositions and “energy field” paintings made him the hero of Modernism in the 1950s, giving rise to Abstract Expressionism. Bruland’s smaller and uninformed panels do have the frenzied energy of what, at first look, is a “drip” painting, but on closer inspection, the viewer realizes there is something more complex at play. There is texture; the subtle dips and hills left by sanding away multiple layers of paint make the panels visceral in a way completely unlike traditional paintings. The image conjured of Bruland sanding each panel, some 30 x 30, 36 x 36, and 24 x 24, leaving behind sweat (and perhaps tears and blood at some points) is akin to the notion of the artist’s hand being the driving force of the work itself. Although the product of Burland’s efforts are the reason this is his fourth solo show at Lora Schlesinger’s gallery, the process can not be denied as a crucial part of his artistic production.
Resolutely abstract, a clear departure from his previous work of atmospheric landscapes, each panel has a distinctly unique surface. Although the technique is the same throughout, the finished panels invoke images of evenings cast in shadows, bright sunsets or early morning sunrises, and hazy, mid-summer days. A feeling is present in all the works; not a literal sense of a particular place or time, but a connection between what we see and what we feel from our memories. Perhaps this is what is the key to the series, the insight of thinking of both the center of things, as well as the less-explored edges of our minds-eye. Exploring the relationship between the edges and centers of his panels, Bruland’s Peripheries is now showing until February 25, 2017.
Richard Bruland has exhibited work since 1988 in and around the Los Angeles area and is represented by galleries across the United States. A graduate of California Institute of Arts where he received his BFA, he previously studied at the School of Art Institute of Chicago.
Artist Talk: February 25th, 2017 at 3PM at Lora Schlesinger Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Phone: (310) 828-1133