Up a narrow wooden staircase, Brüer Tidman has for many years worked in a 19th century warehouse between the river and sea in Gt Yarmouth. Stacked close and deep, his canvases entirely fill the studio, an astonishing accumulation of work, his past and preoccupations crowding in, so that to explore a path between them is a strange and beguiling performance.
Colour is the first impression – always brilliant, with dazzling opacity juxtaposed with broodingly deep translucency. There are always figures, characters sometimes faithfully described and at other times almost entirely abstracted, their features briefly scored into a floating veil of paint. There are images of those closest to the artist, notably his mother and Beth Narborough, but also many paintings and drawings of strangers, people moving through a night shelter or circus performers at the Yarmouth Hippodrome.
What binds this body of work is the enduring fascination with the body and human relationships – the illusive closeness and distances between us. And all of this emotion is communicated with a Modern commitment to paint, the deepest layering of pigment is confounded by a range of graphic and print techniques that throw our attention back to the flatness of surface and pleasure of colour.
Bruce Gernand exhibits work from a selection from nearly two decades. For some years his work has negotiated and searched for a relation between the digital and material. Using 3D computer modelling and transferring this data into material form has been a challenge rife with welcome conundrums and paradoxes.
During his time as a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, Bruce undertook an AHRC funded project, Coded Chimera (2011),
which explored the transformation grids of D’Arcy Thompson in collaboration with the Natural History Museum and the Computer Lab at Cambridge University. The convergence of zoological form and computational strategies was guided by a rather un-scientific and poetic concept: the chimera, a composite which makes a link with a long tradition in art where unfamiliar conjunctions act as repositories of our own imaginative projections.
Bruce continues to use digital modelling in a more marginal way, pursuing animal form to express our current symbolic connection to this subject matter, returning to traditional sculptural approaches: the susceptibility of process to deformation; the play between interior and outer surface, between the animate and the static.