When Robert Brennan won first prize in the prestigious Art of the Northeast USA Exhibit at the Silvermine Guild, juror Charlotta Kotic, curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, called his work “a very original piece in structure and . . . ability to work in one color. The use of different raised surfaces and the shaping of the canvas, which creates shadows, makes this a very dramatic and expressive piece.”
Brennan describes his shaped canvas constructions as a search for resolution between the organic and the geometric. There is a sense of peace and tension, the softness and flow of a curve and the structural bones of a skeleton trying to poke its way through the outer skin. He states: “I have also explored shaped pieces that employ color; however, it is through the stark white works that I ultimately push the edge of painting toward relief and sculpture and, more importantly, toward the rich dialogue between white and black that is possible when light brings the forms to life.
When the construction begins, there can only be approximate expressive goals. The impetus for an idea begins with a feeling. Explorations of forms, lines, and shapes through sketches help to solidify the direction that the work will take. Even as construction begins, there can only be approximate expressive goals. As I begin to build, the forms do more than to satisfy the specifications of a sketch or plan; they begin to resonate and to suggest the next step.
The shaped canvas pieces push the edge of painting toward relief and sculpture. Whereas I have always seen my work as paintings, these works challenge that assumption. Such labeling is irrelevant if I intend to follow my own inclinations. Although most of the current works are in white, some are explorations in color. However, in all cases, it is the light that activates and articulates the forms.
Brennan’s work can be seen on Art Slant and by appointment at his studio in Easton, CT.
BA Southern Connecticut State University
MA Columbia University Teachers College
Advanced Study Columbia TC Doctoral Program (Painting and Printmaking)
Professor of Fine Arts
Coordinator of Art Department K-12, Darien, CT
Painting Instructor, Silvermine School of Art, Norwalk, CT
Solo Exhibit, Good News Café and Gallery, Woodbury, Ct. 2009
Solo Exhibit, The New Art Center, New York City, 2008 (selected by Barbara McAdam, Deputy Editor of Art News Magazine, for an exhibition grant for the solo exhibit)
Viridian Artists 18th Annual Juried Exhibit, 2007
Contemporary Artists Network Annual Exhibit, New York City 2006,2007
Distinguished Alumni Exhibit, Southern Connecticut State University
Connecticut Painters and Sculptors Annual
Art of the Northeast USA, Silvermine Guild of Art