A new installation by artist Brian Bress will have its world premiere at the Chrysler Museum of Art, located in his hometown of Norfolk, Va.
“Man with a Cigarette” (2016) is the artist’s first work to present a full-scale human figure using a video wall. Over the last decade, Bress has won critical acclaim for innovative video-based works featuring an array of eccentric, humanoid characters the artist handcrafts from foam and found objects.
Bress’s new piece was inspired by a pen-and-ink drawing in a thrift store depicting a man wearing a fedora-like hat, a broad tie and a jacket with wide lapels. The unknown artist used an array of techniques — from hatch marks and ragged shading to pointillistic dots and checkerboard patterning — suggesting to Bress the piece was “an artist’s love letter to drawing.” The thrift store wouldn’t sell the drawing, so Bress decided to recreate it as a life-sized sculptural costume.
Bress’s work is disarmingly lighthearted but deeply insightful, says Curator of Exhibitions and Acting Curator of Photography Seth Feman. “He addresses complex questions about representation, perception, and cognition, but he does so in a totally accessible way. It’s a little bit like watching ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ or Saturday-morning cartoons,” says Feman. “The work is endlessly engaging because it’s always unexpected.”
In The Box: Brian Bress continues at the Chrysler Museum of Art through February 19, 2017. Admission is free.