By Kerry Marks
“Usually I try to match one or two artists,” Bruno David tells me during our latest interview, linking the works of Carmon Colangelo and Barry Anderson. “There’s a good, interesting match between the two.”
David is the owner of the Bruno David Gallery in Clayton, MO and started working in the field in 1983 in New York City.
“I love what I do and what I do matters,” he says. While David creates e-books, displays art through Artsy, and is constantly communicating online about his enthusiasm for modern art, he’s adamant about keeping the doors open to his brick and mortar shop. “Nothing can compare to seeing the work three feet away,” he says.
David’s first exhibition of 2019 features work by Carmon Colangelo, Barry Anderson, and Grasshopper.
“I’m interested in the hybridity of both analog and digital in our world and how we negotiate [the two],” Colangelo says, describing his new series, “Infinite Abstraction.”
The title originates in the “endless possibilities” he’s found in creating a system which combine both the analog and digital. Colangelo first creates pieces by hand using a variety of materials such as ink or paint on various surfaces, like canvas or glass. Then, he either photographs or scans the work into his computer and uses photoshop combined with his own unique algorithms to warp, stretch, and twist the forms to his liking. He prints out the image onto canvas using archival paint and each piece is a one of a kind. He describes the process of incorporating pure chance into his work with glee – work he must make “in order to see it.”
Colangelo has been a Dean at the Sam Fox School at Washington University for over a decade and has work currently on display in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s “Printing Abstraction” exhibit. He aims to create work that is joyful and “feel like you can enter into them,” taking inspiration from patterns in nature and notions of space and time. He speaks about the field of abstraction beginning with “artists challenging the notion of what art should represent,” but then evolving into art which plays with the “notion of transcendence. Separating us from what we see in the real world and taking us to another space and time which is more spiritual.”
Anderson’s installation of four video pieces takes this notion and runs with it. In “Fragments of Space,” he’s crafted abstract “architectural spaces” which take the viewer on a fly-through tour of a world that arose from a dream. Anderson uses these dioramas to create a “false world that represents a view of reality” that is highly emotional for him. They’re hypnotic to watch and the audio Anderson created to accompany the visuals match well. Anderson’s roots in art as a painter, and then photographer meld with his digital storytelling to form to create compelling pieces.
The Bruno David gallery is also featuring work by an unknown artist known as Grasshopper and owned by a collector from New York named Paul Ochman.
The comic-stylized imaginings include everything from superheroes and characters wearing Princess Leia buns to floating food and alien landscapes. He’s used pieces from his everyday experiences as inspiration for his amazing world, hence the name of the show, “Daily Life.” Grasshopper went so far as to invent a language, requiring the set of dictionaries he wrote to translate them. This is the first time the work has ever been displayed publicly.
Five years ago, Grasshopper passed away. Collector Paul Ochman describes him as a man from “very modest means” who, for over a decade, would come to his office, create his work with materials supplied by Ochman, and then would give Ochman the finished pieces. Ochman’s office became the first unofficial “Grasshopper Gallery.” Ochman does not divulge Grasshopper’s real name, only that he was poor, lived in New Jersey, and had no family.
“There’s many artists who have a studio practice, but they never show anywhere. Grasshopper never showed his work in public, ever,” Bruno David says. David is currently in the process of publishing a book on Grasshopper’s work “so he’ll never be forgotten.”
The exhibition will run through March 1, 2019 and there will be an artist talk on February 9, 2019. In his window and at his location in The Grove, David is also featuring sculpture by artist Frank Schwaiger. The exhibit in The Grove is by appointment only, however The Bruno David Gallery in Clayton, MO is free and open to the public on Tuesdays through Fridays, from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.brunodavidgallery.com.