“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been troubled by the state of things.” That’s how Mark Bryan begins his artist statement. I read it after looking through a couple dozen images of his work, and it tied some things together for me.
Bryan’s work spans politics, popular culture, social commentary, and quiet contemplation. He says he usually starts with a beautiful landscape but can’t leave it at that. His subjects are by turns funny and mischievous and troubling and destructive. He’s thoughtful and respectful, even loving, in his work, but not sentimental. He manages to understate even in bizarre pieces.
The originals of much of the work at his portfolio site have been sold, I am delighted to see. He also makes prints available. When I started this entry, I wanted to compare him to another painter I also love, but Bryan deserves his own entry. “Apart from all the trouble we cause ourselves, I believe we are immersed in a powerful and beautiful mystery,” he says. All the most observant realists are passionate romantics, too.