An exhibition of my paintings, curated bu Mark Ormond, is a selection of works from the past 10 years.Mr. Ormond has also written a short piece about my painting, which is posted below:
Bruce Marsh – Paintings (2004 -2014)
Bruce Marsh has been painting for more than five decades. In that virtual and actual space of time he has challenged himself to question, daily, issues that confront every painter. As an avid reader and observer of art, culture and history among many other subjects, he thoughtfully considers how these inform his painting. He actively contemplates the history of art and the historical context of what interests him, reflecting on how his paintings will add to the continuum and advancement of ideas about painting. As a painter he constantly is re-thinking his process. Each new painting represents a complex matrix of planning and invention.
In looking closely at the work from the past ten years from 2004 through 2014, chosen for this exhibition, one can appreciate the subtle refinement of Marsh’s approach. Observe the attention he pays to the edges in his brushwork. Notice the balance he maintains in contrasts of dark and light in each area of the composition. As Marsh states: “no part is more important – each has the same energy – each mark creates the total integration” of marks on the surface of the painting. He often makes paintings on site. Sometimes back in the studio he will make a larger version of the same view. He also uses photography for reference or for the beginning of “sketches” for the final work. He may use the computer and various software programs to help him experiment with how he thinks he wants to begin the “invention” of a new painting.
In the painting “Sea Stones, August 2014,” Marsh did not so much “observe the stones” but rather he “invented them.” Marsh’s process begins with the application of thin washes of paint on the surface of linen or panel he has chosen. The finished painting is a tour de force of detail. Every aspect of the surface offers something for the senses. As is evidenced in “Storm, 2013,” Marsh enjoys creating “tensions of representation of space and surface pattern.” He thinks a great deal about clouds before he paints them so that they “hover between being clouds and being paint.” In “Tampa View” Marsh was “prodded” to paint the “astonishingly dark bay” he witnessed. He wanted to depict the “expanse of space.” He chose rich dark colors to invent a cool almost cold light. Although only twelve inches high his composition draws you in and across the bay. In “Boulder with Bright Clouds, Jan 2006,” we can appreciate Marsh’s uncanny understanding of scale in creating a vast vista that tests our peripheral perception. The number of strokes of unique colors seems too innumerable to catalogue. The variety of clouds is spectacular and we are suspended in our disbelief that this is, in fact, a painting.
I would like to thank Allyn Gallup for the opportunity to curate this exhibition and to write about Bruce Marsh’s work. I appreciate all the time Bruce permitted me to visit the studio and for our conversations that together with his paintings inspired my words. Mark Ormond – October 2014