We wrote about Joshua Tree-based artist Brian’s monochromatic world back in 2013 and, three and a half years later, we thought he was probably worth a re-visit. After having his work featured in numerous group shows, this year, Brian had his first show in New York at Dutton Gallery. The walls of the gallery were covered in his large scale works executed in graphite wash, pencil, gouache and ink on paper.
“I make black and white drawings on paper, and most recently canvas,” Brian says of his work. “These images feature blunt forms over unsteady compositions. The figures depicted in these works move freely between public space, and private moments; they sweat, cry, feverishly run out of the frame, work in the studio, play hockey, or jot down letters. Each moment, whether the figure is in agony or gleeful delusion, is fraught with conflicted emotion or divided attention.
“The community of characters are individualised by their anatomical distortions, exaggerated proportions, awkward personal expression, and possibly hidden, buried emotions, and intention. The figures exude puckish confidence with their disproportionate legginess and casual, deadpan clumsiness. Wild, unwieldy movements and the transgressions of the subject are trapped for the gaze of an unseen viewer,” says the artist.
“Lately I’ve been looking at the work of Aloise Corbaz, a Swiss outsider artist included in Jean Dubuffet’s Art Brut collection,” Brian tells us. Since we last featured his work, while his sobering charcoal visual style has stayed highly recognisable, his output has become much more abstract. Stripped of pattern and detail, the energy underlying Brian’s working process is plainly written in dynamic and playful mark-making.