Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bruno Surdo "Cycles"

I've been going to Bruno Surdo exhibits now for several years -- and I still don't like them. The paintings are ugly -- which I guess doesn't distinguish them from most of contemporary painting -- but since it's obviously connected to the European renaissance figurative tradition -- and some of the skills that it required -- it's doubly painful.

It feels like a marriage (made in Hell) between the Spanish Baroque and the Chicago Imagist school -- adding the spirituality and cultural prestige of the one to the trendiness and ugliness/despair cultivated by the other.

From the traditional point-of-view -- the problem is that Surdo gives his figures volume, but does not create a space within which they can operate, so the figures feel like the awkward cut-and-paste jobs that comprise so much of contemporary figurative painting. (the difference being that Surdo can and does draw his own figures -- while usually the figures are photographic fragments)

And I also have an issue with the high-falutin titles given to the resulting pastiche:"Prophesy of Man" or "Seek me Not" or "Splintered self" or "psyche of man" etc. --- where fine ideas are pulled into the mud of despair.

But considered as single figure or portrait studies -- liberated from their mangled compositions and pretentious titles -- I think the fragments present some very engaging portraits of contemporary people (including some models whom I know personally)

So I'm thinking that the final verdict is positive -- a good painter who has undertaken a very ambitious program. (even if, I think, it's a spectacular failure)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, babe . . .

You should hear what Bruno says about YOUR work!

January 15, 2008  
Blogger chris miller said...

Getting talked about - is the best thing that can happen to a work of imaginative art - so I can only hope that Bruno will publish something about mine (and give it the thrashing it deserves!)

January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and who are you to judge anothers work? are you such an accomplished artist..

December 16, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

Looks like this post is still on Bruno's first page on Google, so periodically a devoted, though not especially brilliant, student will stop by to share some love.


Rather than berating me, why don't you take this opportunity to articulate your opinion of Bruno's work - and we can add it to the comments on this blog.

December 17, 2009  

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