A Pool With A View (Cunningham Rd) by Bruce Bundock
32″ x 20″, Acrylic
Today I’d like to write about an artist who also did the Rye Painters on Location this weekend: Bruce Bundock.
It takes an extraordinary mind to see the beauty of Tyvek, T11 siding and an above-ground pool set serenely in Eden. This is a legitimate extension of the social realism of Millet or Hopper, but we are so blind to working-class, rural New York that we don’t immediately recognize it. (New York has the highest and fastest growing income disparity in the nation*.) What interests me is that Bruce seems genuinely fascinated by these modest houses; there isn’t a shred of sentimentality in his work.
His subtle social commentary wouldn’t work without impeccable technique. I am personally fond of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, and I see intimations of it in Bruce’s work, particularly in the discrete steps used instead of gradation to indicate tonal range. The best of his paintings remind me of old-fashioned commercial lithography, particularly in the wonderful flat greens of the trees. None of this, of course, would work without his superlative drafting.
Botanical by Bruce Bundock 11.5″ x 8.25″, Acrylic
This weekend, I acquired Bruce’s “Botanical”, above. I presume by the title that Bruce thinks it’s about the flowers, but once more I see a modest but proud house set in Paradise. As I’m sure I’ll see him someday in a major national gallery, I am thrilled to have such an archetypal example of his work.
Rye Beach Pavilion, by Bruce Bundock, September 13, 2008, acrylic
His Rye painting, of an old Spanish-style building at Playland, included that motif, appropriately muted. A painting which might have been postcard-sentimental was elevated by the inclusion of construction equipment in the foreground, which was perfectly integrated into the composition by skillful balancing of form and color.