Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Brom. What a great name. I always wanted a name that didn't distract you by having one before it or tagging along afterwards, like Brom...or Cher. Maybe not Cher. I had the pleasure of meeting Gerald Brom at Illuxcon 2009, and if you are familiar with his art, you might be surprised at the man behind the art. He is very meek, courteous and pleasant even though his work often takes on a dark, sinister, or grotesque form. In looking through Brom's work trying to find a piece to review, one jumped out at me that superficially is slightly different than what you expect, that being men and women in bondage looking attire, people with eyeballs in their hands, or creepy looking dolls, mannequins, etc. This? It's a tree. I think my friend and fellow artist Steve Anderson would love this tree with its gnarled branches, twisted trunk and dark canopy of leaves. This piece has a similar characteristic as Glen Orbik's painting from the last post in that the background is basically totally in silhouette. There isn't a lot of detail and the value contrast is much lower than the foreground. When you look at the background, you see a Ferris wheel, a happy go lucky Ferris wheel that any child would enjoy. But here is where Brom puts his take on things, because a Ferris wheel elicits images of a carnival and frankly, carnivals are creepy. Plus it is drenched in reds and yellows, the colors intense as fire. What is going on back at that carnival? We aren't sure, but that redness throws up a caution flag to the viewer's psyche. But let's get back to tree itself. Sure it is knobby and gnarled, dark and twisty (much like Brom's inner person or at least the part of him that he projects with his art), but that isn't what draws my attention to this form. The thing that draws me in...is the cage hanging from the branch. Why? It reminds me of a quote from Richard Schmid. When he was painting a landscape with a barn, he asked "So what is that in the window of the barn?" And his answer? "I don't know, but isn't it lovely?" Take a look at that cage. What is in that cage? The answer? I don't know but it's it lovely? That little piece starts my mind to thinking, what IS in the cage? How did the cage get there? What relationship does it have to the carnival with its stark white color against that fiery red? Isn't it lovely indeed...

1 comment:

  1. Mark, I recently heard James Christensen lecture and he said to be careful that you offer some unwritten narrative in your painting. Let the viewer do some wondering and offer some of their own answers. Isn't that what Brom has done here? That tree has a frightening face too.
    Thank you for your explanation on Drawn Again. I'm waiting a pay check before sending for Donato's DVD. I will study Vermeer as well. You are so knowledgeable and please know that I find your "rambles" very informative and never boring. I appreciate the time you take to give an honest and thoughtful response.