NEWS > MAY 2013
Approximately 40 pieces, all of them oil on canvas, will be on display.
Exhibition "Claudio Bravo: 1974-2011" on Marlborough Gallery NY

Three Aluminum Foils, oil on canvas, 2010

The Directors of Marlborough Gallery announce an exhibition of paintings by the preeminent realist painter, Claudio Bravo. This will be the artist’s first show since his untimely demise in 2011 and will consist of approximately 40 oils on canvas which were executed during the time he was represented by Marlborough.

Bravo’s command and understanding of the effects of light were the hallmark of his career of more than fifty years. He proved that he could paint any subject he chose, and his oeuvre was marked by consummate treatments of the human figure, both nude and clothed, still lifes, portraits, interiors, religious and mythological subjects, drapery and colored papers as subjects in themselves, and to a lesser extent landscapes and cityscapes. Perhaps his most famous subject was the paintings of “packages” which take on a surreal, other-worldly quality and whose essence could be said to transcend their physicality into a mystic aura of religious contemplation.

The show will feature four large triptychs as well as two paintings of this quintessential, unique subject. While the show will also offer the chance to see several superb examples of the artist’s most minimal subject: the ineffably beautiful paintings of colored papers, the exhibition’s greater body of work will be devoted to still lifes and will show Bravo’s highly finished technique in the treatment of this timeless theme. His mastery of this subject will be seen in all manner of forms and materials such as in ceramic pottery, lamb skins, aluminum foil, straw baskets, clay amphoras, stones, machinery, cloth, plants, flowers, water, among others. One could say that the physical surface that Bravo could not conquer did not exist. In all his work “he consistently pushes boundaries, periodically referencing elements from Surrealism, abstraction, minimalism, Pop art, and even photorealism, though he works from life, not photographs.” The high achievement of his paintings lies in the nature of their seeming simplicity, a simplicity which belies their complexity and which arrives at clarifying painting’s formal values of line, form, and color. They are classic and modern, detailed and reductive, imaginative and inventive.

Blue Marjana, 2008

The late Gerrit Henry described Bravo’s work in Art in America as “astonishing and riveting” and said his “paintings are praiseworthy in their fidelity to both the homely and the rare and for their rapt declamation of technical values that somehow bespeak the spiritual.” In Bravo’s show of drapery paintings at Marlborough, Ken Johnson in The New York Times spoke of their “transcendental grace” and called his work “a tantalizing mix of the spiritual and the sensual.” One could surmise that it was Bravo’s uncanny control of space and light that was central to his work and that gave his paintings their “evocative calmness” and their “hallucinatory reality of a dream.” In this connection Bravo said, “The objects I paint transcend and magnify reality. I use light somewhat in the way Francisco de Zurbarán did. He was one of the few painters that gave true transcendent meanings to objects. This treatment of light makes them appear more as they are. Their essence is greater.” In his book Claudio Bravo (Rizzoli, 1985) the author and teacher Edward J. Sullivan wrote, “Bravo’s art in many instances seems to straddle two worlds, that in which we exist and another slightly beyond our comprehension: Bravo has taken the real to another plane of perception.”

Source: Marlborough Gallery Press

Forbes Magazine Collection