BRIAN BRESS : He Doubled Himself as a Body of Colors

B R I A N   B R E S S

About BRIAN BRESS’s Video-sculptures and sculptures

— In Lieu of Flowers send Memes —
Cherry and Martin Gallery, West Los Angeles — May-June 2017


by Rosanna Albertini

We commonly give the color of our notions of the known to our ideas of the unknown: we call death sleep because it outwardly resembles sleeping; if we call death a new life it’s because it seems like something different from life.

Hi, I am Rickybird, mint, hot pink, a wintergreen Members Only, and mister Still Life, orange to blue. Although you see three figures in separate frames, it’s always me, the replica of a human body, with three different heads. They bear the burden of intellectual effort, their failure to see through unknown realities.

To restore life to art, my artist looked for visual songs hoping to reverse the meaning of what we see. He choose to hide his body and especially his head in a rigid container that makes him blind and deaf. He is a master of collage. Don’t stop there, the word only speaks technique, or combination of styles, technique again. I am not a collage, I am a sculpture that rotates 360 degrees within a frame hung on the wall. Yes, I am a body of logarithms and pixels, with no weight and no senses.

BRIAN BRESS, Still Life (orange to blue), 2017
High definition single-channel video (color), High definition monitor and player, wall mount, framed.
40.75 x 23.125 x 2.5 inches, 21:32 Loop. Courtesy of the artist and Cherry Martin Gallery











Among the many things I can repeat, from my artificial mind, there is some Robert Musil: we live “in a period of civilization that had simply filled with rubble the access to the soul.” “The most important things take place today in the abstract, and the most trivial ones in real life.” Memory is as solid a part of me as my numerical soul. I don’t give a damn if humans are faltering, or losing the sense of self. I bring simple truths afloat: I spread silence, and around my invisible skeleton I display a rotation which is only my inner clock: free from night and day, far from shadows, brushing any subjectivity away from me.

Let’s make a fresh start: my heads can be severed, then reconstructed as classic monuments of cumulative clumps of ideas, resting in peace in their sculpted form. My severed heads are white, white and impersonal as if the hand-work of the artist was forgotten. They conjure up a variety of moods —a little like the verbs moods— that you can discover walking all around the heads. Some serious, others ridiculous, over all impenetrable.











Men and things have the same destiny — because it is abstract — an equally indifferent value in the algebra of the mystery.
But there is something else… Oh how many times have my very own dreams arisen before me like things, not to take the place of my reality but to confess that they are equal to me in my not caring for them, in arising in me from without, like the trolley that turns at the far curve of the street.”

In all my dreams either you appear, dream, or, false reality, you accompany me.
With you I visit regions that are perhaps your bodies of absence and dishumanity, your essential body disfigured into a calm plain and a mountain with a cold profile in the garden of a hidden palace.”

BRIAN BRESS, Members Only (wintergreen), 2017.
High definition single-channel video, high definition monitor and player, wall mount, framed.
40.75 x 23.125 x 2.5 inches, 19:25 Loop. Courtesy of the artist and Cherry Martin Gallery











There is only one way my artist could see himself doubled like an alien looking at him from a distance, from a land of dreams in which my features do not have names, nor have a tongue on their own. He doubled himself as a body of colors: his unknown self.
I am his disfigured double, soaked in colors as a flower, an evergreen, a shiny fish luminous with scales, or a changeable mother pearl. Intention, decisions and the strength of will were melted, sent to another planet. Feelings remain, the certainty I exist, along with an eternal uncertainty about who am I.

I’m not the illusory image given back by the mirror: that really would be one exclusive way of seeing myself. No, I can feel my head navigating through time, embraced by million spaces. I wear the heroic, shiny helmets of Agamemnon and Achilles and Patroclus fighting around the walls of Troy, some futurist angles turning cubist maybe, some pop disguises as if I were pointing my tongue at the viewers, except I don’t have a tongue, nor eyes, nor ears, only my inner flame that makes me happy to rotate on my axis so slowly I seem still. Rush is banned in my space. I am as my artist made me, as light as a butterfly.

BRIAN BRESS, Rickybird (mint, hot pink), 2017
High definition single channel video (color), High definition monitor and player, Wall mount, framed.
40.75 x 23.125 x 2.5 inches, 24:18 Loop. Courtesy of the artist and Cherry Martin Gallery











Everything around us become part of us, infiltrates us in our carnal or vital sensation, and the web of the grand Spider subtly ties us to whatever is at hand, binding us in a light bed of slow death, where we rock in the wind.”

Quotes are from Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, translated by Alfred Mac Adam, Exact Change, Boston, 1998.
And from Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, translated from German by Sophie Wilkins, Editorial consultant Burton Pike, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.




Los Angeles, Brian BressRIDLEY TREE SLEEPER #2 (Nick and Brian), 2012

“Being conscious of the unconsciousness of life is the most ancient tax on intelligence”  Ferdinando Pessoa

BRIAN BRESS, Redley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012 Courtesy of the artist

BRIAN BRESS, Ridley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012
Image Courtesy of the Artist and Cherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles

Rosanna Albertini about Sleeper.            

The head was dozing not afraid to fall forwards she did not even have a body. She felt free without knowing from what, no expressions nor identity. Ten years, twenty minutes? Easy to pass over the words images do not care of time. The hand supporting the chin is completely unknown. Please don’t tickle I’m falling asleep.

It was a nobody’s face, quite heavy and very different from other hand-made faces of artworks in the artist’s studio, those covered by leftovers from stories they will not tell me. An orange peel, a bunch of feathers, a sort of tail modifying a nose, a piece of leather, they transform each face. Useless to try to recognize who’s underneath: maybe each face is a garden of wishes: as they materialize, grow, multiply, expand beyond the skin between two ears and a field of hair, their natural appearance gets lost, impossible to eat it and speak it out. Well for a time the inner life was resisting like a mule the artist’s hands trying to pull her out … she filled his fingers, instead, with flowers, legs of grasshopper, printed images all broken in pieces and myriads of cut outs. There was a moment he disappeared under their invasive attack, wore them as overalls.

Instead of excreting thoughts, the mask had expelled a crown of little heads, all alike, each with thick black hair and a flat face. He, she, it, who knows? There’s no natural air around her everything is painted canvas, the arms are human painted as well. Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, along with many others of the same age provided colors and impressions. (The Santa Barbara Museum of Art wanted a piece of our present for the gallery of Impressionists.) And lady Earth offered the clay for the head. Art is made of donors.

BRIAN BRESS, Ridley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012 Courtesy of the artist

BRIAN BRESS, Ridley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012
Image Courtesy of the Artist and Cherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles

“We like looking into the future because we should like, by wishing, to draw what is still fluid and shapeless in it towards us here to our advantage.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

The artist handled all the presents he received from future and past and in the end was so tired he could only become a head lost in the fullness of time, looking at one image in his memory: an old lady sitting on the floor of his parents shop, dozing and falling asleep in not more than five minutes. “Grandmother, anima mia, don’t move, let me join you.” I’m quite sure she wouldn’t have seen her grandson’s dilemma as an artist, this time not wanting to perform his own score the diagram was lost and finally he let the artwork make him, and devouring him until he became a bunch of numbers: all in all, a high definition sleeper.

BRIAN BRESS, Ridley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012 Courtesy of the artist

BRIAN BRESS, Ridley Tree Sleeper #2, 2012
Image Courtesy of the Artist and Cherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles

“Nothing so characterizes a man as what he finds ridiculous. We laugh when the elements of a moral discrepancy are brought home to our senses in a harmless way.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)