By PAUL LASTER, Oct. 2018
A self-taught artist yet hardly an outsider, Tom Bronk was born in Wisconsin in 1944, grew up in the shadows of his family’s bar, got a job painting walls at the Milwaukee Art Center, met Lynda Benglis there in 1971 and at her urging moved to New York, where he landed a job at Leo Castelli Gallery. A part of the New York art world, but not a participating artist, Bronk painted year after year in isolation.
Jump ahead to 2018, and the 74-year-old artist is finally having his first solo show ever. The logical question might be what took him so long, but the answer remains a mystery. Toiling away in poverty, Bronk found ways to make the most of the situation. Working with acrylic on thin boards, he’s created a lively body of geometric paintings that manage to keep the eye in motion while simultaneously drenching the viewer in pure color.
Constructing the illusion of depth on a totally flat surface, Bronk layers abstract, rectangular forms with remarkable precision. Employing day-glow, iridescent and pearlescent paints, he creates contrasting and complementing concentric structures that tunnel inward and outward from the center of the plane, resulting in a joyful, meditative art.
Scroll through to see more of Tom Bronk’s paintings, which remain on view at New York’s Andrew Edlin Gallery through October 20, 2018. WM
Paul Laster is a writer, editor, independent curator, artist and lecturer. He is a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific and a contributing editor at Whitehot and artBahrain. He was the founding editor of Artkrush.com and Artspace.com and art editor of Flavorpill.com and Russell Simmons's OneWorld Magazine; started TheDailyBeast.com's art section; and worked as a photojournalist for Artnet.com and Art in America. He is a frequent contributor to Time Out New York, New York Observer, Modern Painters, ArtPulse and ArtInfo.com.view all articles from this author