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Discovering Tom Bronk’s Concentric Abstractions

  Tom Bronk, Untitled, 2018. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

 

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.
 

Installation view of Tom Bronk at Andrew Edlin Gallery, September 12 - October 20, 2018. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
  

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

 Tom Bronk, 17 (c) 4, 2017. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York


Tom Bronk, 15 (d) 1, 2015. Acrylic on panel, 48 x 24 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

 

Tom Bronk, 92 (a) 1, 1992. Acrylic on panel, 48 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
 

 Installation view of Tom Bronk at Andrew Edlin Gallery, September 12 - October 20, 2018. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

 

Tom Bronk, 14 (c) 2, 2014. Acrylic on panel, 48 x 24 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

 

Tom Bronk, 17 (c) 3, 2017. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
 

Tom Bronk, 96 (e) -1, 1996. Acrylic on panel, 48 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
 

 Tom Bronk, 17 (d) 1, 2017. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 48 in. Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York

 

 

Paul Laster

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.

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