Thursday, February 06, 2020

Bruno David Gallery: Saturday, 29 February 2020

TOM REED: this is the before
RICHARD HULL: Painting and Drawing
PATRICIA OLYNYK: The Mutable Archive
FRANK SCHWAIGER: SYZYGY-when heavenly bodies align
CHRISTINA SHMIGEL Window on Forsyth: In Our Town

Opening Reception Saturday, February 29. 6-8 pm
February 29 – April 18, 2020

James Austin Murray writes, “These are both a continuation of the works I’ve focused on over the last several years, and a fusion of work I had begun in my late 20’s. Reaching back in time to older work is something I felt would happen when I had begun this work so many years ago. Every so often, the artwork revisits an old path, stemming from a previous impulse. This bridging of old and new characteristics in my art and history makes connections that are both satisfying and revelatory. These paintings are about paint, objecthood, and, although these are not sculpture, their relief aspects take that direction. Where this work ends is still a mystery to me, and finding myself in this uncertain territory is most invigorating.” As a NYC firefighter during the September 11th attack in New York City, Murray paints on how his life was informed following the atrocity of that day. His current work is both about the paint and the light reflected on and within it. Murray states, “Sometimes the dark is where you find the best surprises.”

Richard Hull’s paintings fill their canvases with large swathes of color; blocks of opaque hues are overlaid with sweeping brushstrokes clustered together that function like non-transient ripples on the water, as rings within a tree, or of grooves on a record player as the latter description evokes the same feelings of growth that Hull’s painterly gestures achieve. The comparison describes the texture of thick paint upon the canvas some of the patterns, and the liveliness of the purposeful irregularities within Hull’s stroke.

The river is continually referred to in Tom Reed’s work. Once a symbol of time and change in his paintings, it now has become a collaborative partner. Reed spends days and hours on the river fly fishing. Mementos of this time on the river, beaver chewed sticks, logs, arrowheads, and junk, slowly began making their way into the studio and eventually into the work. Over time they formed a bridge between the river and the creative output in the studio. In this current exhibition, this is the before, Reed combines painted landscapes with small, wooden sculptures in the form of trail markers dotting a hiking trail. The largest, an arrow, reads simply Before. The word is both a warning and an invitation to view any ordinary present-day moment through the eyes of a time-traveler from the future. What would you change if you could go back in time, it asks? What if you are there right now?

The Mutable Archive is a video work by Patricia Olynyk. The Mutable Archive is a multi-layered performance video project that interrogates the lives of those housed in a special archive split between two continents. Who speaks for those who are lost, particularly in the absence of verifiable archival material? Olynyk photographed an inventory of human specimens collected by a 19th-century Viennese anatomist, Dr. Josef Hyrtl. Nine commissioned writers have each produced a speculative biography about a chosen subject in Hyrtl’s collection. Each performed script, a 4K cinematic video, interrogates the mechanics of storytelling and the roles of assumption and subjectivity in science. Each vignette is edited into a richly textured video performance, which is projected sequentially.

Frank Schwaiger’s new sculptures took years to complete. All of them reflect Frank’s passion for stonework: “I am a stone carver,” he says. “It’s what I was put here to do.” He sees his work in the ancient tradition of sculpture created not as art but as “transmission objects” embodying the human desire to “reach and control the beyond, the impossible-to-understand”. In his artist’ past statement, Frank writes, “We make things with our hands - that unique ability makes us human, and even more amazingly, earns us an awareness of our spirit. All art is riven with this quest for who we are. The root of my iconography can be traced back, like Paul Klee's, to 17th century Bavarian folk art and the making of things with the hand. That is who I am.”

A landscape of rural water towers fills Bruno David Gallery’s Window on Forsyth. Christina Shmigel presents a new series of sculptures based on an iconic image of the American landscape, the water tower. Whether adorning a building in NYC or marking a town along an interstate highway, the water tower has a strong hold on the collective imagination of Americans. As it stands alone in the distance, the tower speaks to a traveler’s sense of loneliness, to a sense of the stranger-passing-through. The water tower also announces the existence of a community and marks a place of settlement.

Public Hours Tuesday - Friday 11 - 6 pm, Saturday 11 - 5 pm and open by appointment. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Bruno David Gallery
513 Forsyth Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO 63105 (free parking)


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