In his new series of mixed media paintings, Bruce Tolman continues to interweave abstraction, texture, and the poetics of color into a narrative that integrates an aquatic journey with expressionistic marks and symbols. Tolman reaches into the subconscious depths of the mind. Drips of paint layered with expanses of color are integrated and at times create a backdrop for dreamlike outlines of boats, navigational tools, geometric renderings and masked script. The relationship to nature in Tolman’s work is evident in his visceral surfaces and organic forms. Ripples in the surface of water, the pull of the ocean’s tide, splashes of sea foam on the surface of sand and textures that mimic sea-life pull the viewer in, and can be seen as both relaxing and invigorating.
Tolman’s paintings Reds Boatyard, Pool Top, Balance, Silent Sails, Repairs, and Tower all incorporate linear renderings and symbols that are associated with water in some way. They become abstract cartographic landscapes that suggest a voyage, either from the past or into the future. There is an aspect of play, investigation, and research, similar to Terry Winters’ references to organic forms, expanses of color, and mark making. Moonlight, Moondust, White Rain, Woven Anemone, Woven Coral, and Woven Glacier are part of another series where abstraction prevails. Expressive drips and marks are layered with luminous color and texture that investigate surface, like reflections on a body of water that flicker and move while the steadiness and depth of something greater lay below.
Bruce Tolman’s work has been included in exhibitions at Bass Museum; Giovanni Rossi Fine Art, Miami; Melanee Cooper Gallery, Chicago; Anderson Contemporary Art, Santa Fe; Terrain Gallery, San Francisco. He received a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art. This is his ninth solo exhibition at Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art.