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.