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, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.
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