Michael Brunswick at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave #T3
Santa Monica, CA 90404
January 24 through February 28, 2009
In Motion with Michael Brunswick: The AbEx of our Time
After years of admiring my friend Michael Brunswick’s work, he finally found the time to grant me a short interview at the opening of his new show In Motion at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery. Michael, known as a sort of alchemist among the art circle that he hangs out in, creates large abstract works in which the paint seems to “crawl” across the canvas in oceanic depths of the liquid-smooth surface. The result is caused by a certain chemical and paint reaction that Michael creates depending on the effect that he is looking for. This process, however, remains a secret to everyone but the artist.
If you have ever read my articles before, you will know that I do not tend to focus much on the aesthetic value of art objects. However, when dealing with Abstract Expressionism or pure form in general, I would be doing a heavy disservice to Clement Greenberg by not discussing the overwhelming aesthetic attributes of Michael’s work, especially since my interview with him was geared towards the idea of subjectivity in relation to aesthetic appreciation.
The smoothness of the oil paint in reds, blacks, whites, and blues encompass the viewer like water overhead. As the chaotic patterns crackle, separate, crawl, and ebb like cells stemming apart, one gets the feeling of deep sea scuba diving next to large pieces of coral whose shimmery and phosphorescent intricacies catch the eye only when up close. Small air bubbles caught in the medium as well resemble the texture of coral, and next to the glossy consistency of the flat paint, the profundity of Michael’s technique emerges.
Speaking to the artist briefly, my first question to him was if he accepted the fact that people were categorizing his work as Abstract Expressionism.
Michael Brunswick: Sure. But I prefer to move away from defining art which suffers from a lack of intimacy. You can’t truly define my art because Abstract Expressionism is older. But AbEx didn’t end the spirit of expression through form, and that’s a plus that came out of the movement. I take a lot of my inspiration from Conceptual art and Dadaism as well.
Alexx Shaw: What is the first thing that people say to you about your work?
MB: I love your work. Great work.
AS: So everything is based on an aesthetic value judgment?
MB: Yes, of course. You can’t get away from conversations on my work. Pure form in general comes with the idea that it’s going to be interpreted. I don’t say anything about my work because I want viewers to interpret my work how they want.
AS: So your ideal is to have your work be completely subjective?
AS: But do you think that can ever really happen?
MB: Of course not. You can never have purely subjective work because people will always bring to it what they already know.
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Alexx Shaw is a freelance writer in LA.