David Brewster, Magnetic Circuitries
Can we ever know enough about the mutability of color? Tempered by tonal juxtapositions at once tender and strong, stretching the nuance of color, there is a constant and emphatic persistence, like a metronome, for these paintings to exist. In these recent paintings, David Brewster uses color to create a unique corporeality. Powered by deftness of stroke, there is palpable “speed” in Brewster’s paintings that viscerally engages the viewer. It is as if each painting is chiseled with intensity and speaks to the desire on the part of the artist to discover and find a “way into and through” the space of the scene before him. Drawing plays an integral part in the construction of each painting as it builds a foundation upon which the painting rests and is his stepping-stone into an observed place. In “Griswoldville Canal” a dollop becomes a house, a swipe a river, a gesture a building. Brewster’s confidence in what he sees and how he puts it onto a painted surface comes from an innate understanding, at its deepest level, of how color and form can move a painting through time and space. In “Frozen Spillway ll ” dripped paint pushes back an evening sky while just below, more drips come forward as a rock face. “Push” becomes “pull” as shapes tilt and tumble like children’s wooden blocks.
Although Brewster’s methods of painting are steeped in history, giving a nod to El Greco, Turner, and Auerbach, his paintings are realized so passionately in a moment of complete surrender to what is seen and interpreted, that they are imbued with a magnetic circuitry. In seeing David Brewster’s paintings, I am reminded of what Frank Auerbach once said: “Painting for me is a set of connections, a set of sensations of conflicting movements and experiences, which somehow, one hopes, has congealed or cohered or risen out of the battle into being an image that stands up for itself.” * The “here and now” of Brewster’s paintings are embedded with this urgency and appropriately current. In the end he harnesses simple practices to create inclusive narratives that can span the breadth of any viewer’s imagination. They make you think about what you are seeing and compel you to look again, each time giving you a nugget of understanding until they cumulatively live inside of you. Such is the nature of great painting.
• Frank Auerbach Speaking and Painting, by Catherine Lampert, 2015 Thames and Hudson
Anne Neely is a painter who lives and works in Boston and Jonesport, Maine. She is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in NYC.