November 30, 2010

Sometimes you plan to see a show, sometimes a show stops you in your tracks. We were hurrying down W. 25 Street on our way to an opening when Claudio Bravo’s paintings snared us.

This was a particularly intriguing show with a raucous sense of humor. Large scale paintings all, colorful, wry, burst out laughing actually, and marvelously colorful.

Why is a good question because Bravo painted canvases of packages wrapped in tissue paper and tied with twine. Does it sound compelling – not really, but was it compelling – absolutely so. The paintings are resoundingly memorable.

After Max Ferguson’s show, I really was questioning ultra-realistic painting. What’s the point of replicating a photograph in paint? Bravo answered my question by distilling and enhancing reality. It might have been the reality of crumpled tissue paper on a box, but he made us understand the tissue paper.

Perhaps age (Bravo was born in 1936) has a purpose other than aches and pains. Perhaps age forces an artist to focus on essence and the importance of showing us the essence of what he sees Certainly it is special when an artist’s work continues to develop while aging. My list of older artists with this rare ability is growing: Dorothy Culpepper and now Claudio Bravo.

Kudos, maestro. Unfortunately, the show has closed but images are available online at the Marlboro Gallery’s website.

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