Bram Bogart: Hunks of Color


Bram Bogart at Jacobson Howard Gallery in October. Here, Rode Rouge, 2008, mixed media, 66.25 x 55.25 inches

I've been viewing a new crop of exhibitions this month, but I want to close out October's offerings with a look at two shows: in this post, the material paintings of Bram Bogart in New York; in the next, the ethereal paintings of Rose Olson in Boston.
I had not heard of Bram Bogart until I walked into Jacobson Howard, a white-walled, white-floored gallery on the Upper East Side. Wow! These are the monster trucks of painting. And I mean that in a good way.
Color is not just on the surface, it is the surface. Indeed, the color, the surface and the painting are one. And it's as much sculpture as painting (some of the works are a good 12 inches deep) Bogart is coy about his medium, but it would seem to be pigment mixed directly into something like plaster, marble dust, and probably resin to hold the mix together. The stuff is troweled on. Looking at each work, you really get the physicality of the process, the plop, pile and smear of it. Viewing the work is a visceral experience; you almost feel every one of the hundreds of pounds that these paintings weigh. To be honest, I find the colors a bit too uh, how-you-say, unsubtle, but then finesse is not what these paintings are about.
Here, take a look at the muscle and heft:

An approximately 8x10"detail of Rode Rouge, the work at the top of this post

Hans Hoffman on steroids? Sorry, my notes don't tell me the title, but you can see the palette and scale of the work
Up-close viewing yields some interesting passages. The chromatic topography below is a tiny section from the right edge

Bogart also showed a number of all-white paintings, which in their monochrome strike me as even more sculptural than the chromatic works. You can see one, Het Wit, on the gallery website.
Just in case you aren't familiar with Bram Bogart, he's a Netherlands-born octogenerian who lives and works in Belgium. As if you can't tell, he's been at it for years. .


Admin said...

"Monster trucks of painting" and "Color is not just on the surface, it is the surface." Terrific and accurate art sound bite-like insights.

I've seen Bogart's work in reproduction for, like, three decades. Finally, I saw a painting in Brussels this past April at Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België (or Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique). I was mighty impressed.

Thanks, Joanne.

david kramer said...

Great work. I love these paintings. David

Jeffrey Collins said...

Damn, those are some serious pieces. I don't know if I'd call them paintings though, they look more like they would be colored wall sculptures. But amazing nonetheless. Thanks for showing them. Do you have more detailed images of these?


Anonymous said...

aaaaagh! i was in nyc last month and didn't know about this show! i came across a reproduction of one of his paintings in a library book like five years ago... i think it was even black and white... and scoured the internet for more.


Joanne Mattera said...

Hey, all, thanks for the kind words.

Chris, yeah, I like that "monster trucks" line, too.

Jeffrey, I do have more detailed images, but lack of time prevents me from posting them. Alas.

Martin, your comment has suggested that I try, every month, to post a list of what interests me and what I will try to see. I don't always get to everything--I'm always short of time--but I do have a long list. No promises on that, but possible in the new year (after my solo show in Boston opens, and after Miami--the trip and the week of writing and postng that follows).

Anonymous said...

...and don't forget that group New, New, 'um' Painters. Bram always stood a mile out.


Anonymous said...

Love those hunks o' color!

As a person who's soon to visit NYC (early December) I hope to read more JM gallery reports soon.

Joanne Mattera said...


Here are a few Chelsea painting shows you might be interested in, which will still be up in early December:
. Joan Mitchell at Cheim & Read,
. Terry Winters at Matthew Marks,
. Tomma Abts at David Zwirner
. Petah Coyne at Galerie Lelong through Dec. 6,

Also check out these galleries, which usually show painting:
. Elizabeth Harris Gallery
. Winston Wachter
. McKenzie Fine Art
. Thatcher Projects
. Lohin Geduld
. Stephen Haller
. Howard Scott
. Brenda Taylor
. Kathryn Markel
. Reeves Contemporary
. Danese
. Plus the biggies: Gagosian, Pace Wildenstein, Marlborough

At the New Museum on the Lower East Side: big survery of Mary Heilmann's paintings,

And since that's near SoHo, check out:
. OK Harris,
. Peter Blum

Other museum shows:
. At Moma: Van Gogh and Miro
. At the Met, Morandi is up until, I think, Dec. 4. In the contemporary wing, Thirty hears of Acquisitions will include work by Jasper Johns, including, I think, the White Flag.

If you have access to a car, definitely visit the "Material Color" show at the Hunterdon Museum. (See my report a few posts below this one.)

If you're around on Sunday, the Williamsburg galleries are open.

That's just scratching the surface, but I think it qualifies me for a Girl Scout Tour Guide badge.

Jeffrey Collins said...

Thanks Joanne. I'll have to get in touch with you the next time I'm in NYC to get your opinion on good painting shows to see.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joanne! Absolutely patch-worthy. ;)
Much care,

neil Conrad said...

I met BB at new new painters show in '01. we talked at length about art and Belgium... he uses a mixture of Spackel and tempura and oil. he started painting as a house painter. I so wish I'd seen this show but glad to find your post. neil conrad

Anonymous said...

beautiful pics. a visitor from France.