LOGOS: New Paintings by Dirk de Bruycker
September 26 - November 2, 2014
Often aligned with such color-field greats as Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko—particularly in his practice of Rothko’s words “only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless”—de Bruycker’s complex mix of unusual materials differentiates his work, producing especially ethereal yet deeply emotional effects. De Bruycker’s paintings read like masterful imprints of the artist’s subconscious life, evocations of what he calls his “innate— passive knowledge.”
For decades, Dirk de Bruycker has been creating beautifully engaging canvases from painterly florescences of spirited pigment, applied in varying viscosities and floating on underlying shadows of image drawn in asphaltum. De Bruycker has evolved both an unusual process and his own aesthetic temperament over more than 35 years of experimentation and patience. His distinctive style and the emotional valence of his work derive in large measure from the artist’s adept capacity to merge technique with intuition. This combination of intentional means and creative gnosis produces paintings of remarkable beauty and unusual meditative force. It is what he calls his “painterly logic” and it is this synergistic relationship in his work between the intuitive and the methodical from which the title Logos is derived for the exhibition of new work at LewAllen Galleries.
They, like the artist himself, exhibit a blend of both the joyful and the introspective. In them there is a feeling of quiet substantiality—visual resonances of a life fully lived. One senses that the unique facture of these works draws from a wide range of personally authentic experience, from deeply-felt sensations of happiness as well as despair,
His unique approach to composition has helped make de Bruycker’s work widely regarded for its sense of mystery and intrigue, coming from blending penumbras of dense hue, drawn pattern, and luminous translucent wash stained onto canvas. from glimpses of moods both light and dark, and from a disciplined intellect that mediates fluidly between concerns of both inner and outer life.
Part of this Logos is rooted in a distinctive process that makes unique use of materials and composition. It begins with an under-painted image on raw canvas drawn with brush using thinned asphaltum, the bituminous material used in roofing, highway surfacing and in early photography and printmaking. In the next phase, de Bruycker sets aside his brush and applies successive layers of oil color, cobalt drier, paint thinner and gesso by pouring and scraping, tilting and flowing. The work is periodically set aside and allowed to dry permitting the under-painted image to emerge through the veils of interacting colors.
Like the work of mid-20th century Abstract Expressionists to whom he is rightly considered an artistic successor, de Bruycker’s paintings bear the stigmata of an unvarnished humanity but, significantly, without the splenetic egoism that accompanies a Pollock or de Kooning. De Bruycker’s gentle yet unconstrained sweeps of color and line radiate expressively but contemplatively, rather than demanding narcissistic regard. His paintings act as markers along the artist’s path of life, emblems of a psyche and heart in search of what matters.
This unique approach to composition has helped make de Bruycker’s work widely regarded for its sense of mystery and intrigue, coming from blending penumbras of dense hue, drawn pattern, and luminous translucent wash stained onto canvas. These elements combine to form graceful blooms of powerful emotional expression. De Bruycker’s viscerally executant hand always is evident, converging sweeps of vaporous color with subtle tinges of sepia stain to produce forms that appear to float elegantly in atmospheres of silent contemplation and enigmatic sensuality.
It is the impossibility of painting a likeness of such ultimate truth—a verisimilar portrait of the meaning of life cannot be done—that drives an artist like de Bruycker to paint again and again what at least might be imprints of the search and insights felt along the way. He makes versions of this experience knowing that he can never represent completely that which is ineffable but fulfilled in knowing 2
Published on Sep 20, 2014
For more than 35 years, Dirk de Bruycker has been creating beautifully engaging canvases from painterly florescences of vibrant color floati...