Carolyn Carroll of Bright Rain Gallery invited me back to her gallery for the opening reception of Travis Bruce Black’s New Kungfu exhibition. What a treat to meet the artist behind the Chirp watercolor series that has attracted a steady stream of loyal fans since Black himself owned the Bright Rain Gallery from 2007 - 2011. His new figurative works are tightly composed and watery with the color saturation turned way up. The environment of these pieces are clouds of color with a hard edge architectural structure.
The bird portraits of Travis Bruce Black are in a category by themselves. These are not your ordinary birds. Black’s technique pulls viewers into his paintings until their reality blurs with his fantasy. Vivid colors and subtle flirtations are paired with his abstract technique, bringing a dreamy quality to his artwork.
In particular, Chirp 200, his milestone piece and largest watercolor to date at 37 x 51 inches, shows it’s domestic scene of two magnified birds perching on an oversized geranium branch. Black, a graduate of UNM, contends, “My aim is to create compelling works that bring joy, optimism, and mystery; art that expresses my lust for life and the simple exuberance of being.
He also states that, “To express the fullness and my experience of life, I try to work in paradoxes like straight lines vs. curved lines, for example the difference between architecture and plants. Even more interesting to me is how curves and lines commingle, like in the aesthetic of shoes or cars. I try to show the spectrum of difference between abstraction and naturalistic form to illustrate how layered reality is and to flesh out a more inclusive picture of what “real” feels like. An overarching theme for my work is how complex creatures are and how every living thing is a little package of total mystery.”
Travis Bruce Black’s New Kungfu exhibition will run through May 31 at Bright Rain Gallery located in Old Town’s Patio Market, 206 1/2 San Felipe NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104, (505) 843-9176, www.brightraingallery.com