Stephen Bram

4th – 26th April 2014
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Stephen Bram’s ongo­ing project, which con­tin­ues here with a body of paint­ings each titled Unti­tled (two point per­spec­tive), is ground­ed in a process of cre­at­ing spaces with mul­ti­ple van­ish­ing points’, those arti­fi­cial con­struc­tions of pic­to­r­i­al space that allow the eye to see depth in two-dimen­sion­al images.

Con­struct­ing images from a real and spe­cif­ic yet some­times ran­dom set of graph­ic co-ordi­nates, Bram pro­duces paint­ings that hov­er between the flat­ness of the can­vas or screen, and the immense sen­sa­tion of spa­tial depth that occurs in images of one-point-per­spec­tive space. By employ­ing and dou­bling the con­ven­tion­al tech­nique of one-point-per­spec­tive com­po­si­tion, the works refer to and depart from cen­turies of paint­ing, from the ear­ly 15th Cen­tu­ry exper­i­ments of lin­ear per­spec­tive, to the late 19th Cen­tu­ry inno­va­tions into abstrac­tion, and by the mid-20th Cen­tu­ry, abstraction’s avant-garde dom­i­nance. These works equiv­o­cate pur­pose­ful­ly between the sub­ject­less­ness’ of cer­tain kinds of abstrac­tion, their insis­tence on the para­mount impor­tance of their own mate­ri­al­i­ty; and the rich­ness of the world out­side the paint­ing, the world to which each of Bram’s paint­ings points, in mul­ti­ple direc­tions at once.

The orig­i­nal per­spec­ti­val co-ordi­nates of a paint­ing are, to the view­er, invis­i­ble and unknow­able; for Bram, they are unim­por­tant except as a way of anchor­ing each paint­ing in the world. Bram’s project is marked by an intense con­cen­tra­tion on the exe­cu­tion of a sin­gle idea, car­ried out care­ful­ly and pur­pose­ful­ly for over two decades across a vari­ety of media, but always return­ing to paint­ing. For Bram, each group of works, though some­what dif­fer­ent in appear­ance to pre­vi­ous groups, con­tains with­in it the orig­i­nal ker­nel of this idea, and the entire­ty of the project so far. A new set of works indi­cates a new area of exper­i­men­ta­tion, and per­haps a new set of knowl­edge. The space of paint­ing is pored over, sev­er­al aspects at once: size, scale, colour, opac­i­ty, geo­met­ric com­plex­i­ty. Shak­ing off the rigid lin­ear per­spec­tive of true tech­ni­cal draw­ing, Bram impro­vis­es, not plan­ning every ele­ment before begin­ning to paint. In the cur­rent body of work, an unusu­al inflec­tion of colour is appar­ent, a less plas­tic thick­ness of tone allow­ing the sur­face of the can­vas to be more notice­able; the car­toon like out­lin­ing of colour in grey or black ref­er­enc­ing pop along­side the high­er-cul­ture ref­er­ences from the his­to­ry of art. A close­ness of atten­tion to Bram’s works, over time, rewards each viewing.

Con­trary to the seem­ing­ly more and more appar­ent impulse toward nov­el­ty and trend in con­tem­po­rary art and life, Bram returns time and time again to an idea and a process that have sus­tained his prac­tice over many years, with a sur­pris­ing­ly het­ero­ge­neous range of results. His works are reminders of the val­ue of look­ing again, of the neces­si­ty to test and assess ideas over time, and of the immense world of vari­a­tion pos­si­ble with­in the tight­est frame­work of rules.

Images

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2014
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
198152 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
126.595 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2014
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
125.595 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2013
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
101.576 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
198152 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2013
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
186132 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
125.595 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
198152 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
186132 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2014
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
198152 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2012
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
186132 cm

Stephen Bram

Unti­tled (two point perspective), 2014
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on canvas
186132 cm