When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Michael Brophy

Michael Brophy is a regionalist who captures and catalogs the experience of the pacific northwest, and in so doing captures what it means to know where you live. Unfortunately, his work really doesn't translate all that well to digital. His work can only be seen on two gallery websites where the images are fairly small. Also it seems that the paintings that sold are no longer posted and as one can imagine those are often (although not always) the strongest pieces. Oh well. The size is the most frustrating thing. The paintings are often huge. Not always. He works small too, but it's his large monumental works that have the biggest impact. The funny part of it is that it's hard to say why their impact is so profound. Technically they're good but there are many artists whose skill with a brush is more deft or refined. In some measure it's the very simplicity of his imagery and technique that are the heart of his work. There are plenty of artists who approach similar subject matter but Mr. Brophy's work is always immediately recognizable as his own and no one else's.
These really, really need to be seen in real life. If you happen to be in the Portland, Oregon area, you can see some of his current work at the Lauro Russo Gallery through the month of September. He also shows work in Seattle at G. Gibson Gallery.

"Jetty"  66" x 78"  oil on canvas  2010

"Sound"  54" x 66"  oil on canvas  2010

 Here are two of his smaller paintings. The fact that you can barely see the difference between the paintings above and these below is profoundly depressing to me. I like them both but the differences in scale are enormous.

"Sage"  15" x 17"  oil on canvas  2009

"Lightning"  15" x17"  2009

And here's a much older piece that lives in the Tacoma Art Museum that I have always loved. It's much more closely tied to an older romantic tradition than his newer more minimal work, but it's all equally steeped in the raw vitality of direct experience processed in the studio.

"January" oil on canvas  78" x 95 1/2"  1997

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