24 September 2017

Elusive Brenda Bullion

When I walked into the Corners Gallery last October I had no idea that the owner would turn out to be related to an artist who had made a vivid impression on me on a visit to Ithaca eight years before, a long time to remember an image with no information other than a dry wall text.  A single watercolor drawing, the untitled one at left, had been included in an exhibition of prints and drawings Shared Experience at the museum at Cornell University in November, 2008.

The charm of this romantic figure resides in her specificity as much or more than in her self-consciousness and introspection.  How the horizontal movement of the scarf softens the otherwise relentlessness of the multiple verticals.

The charm of both drawings and watercolors is their customary intimate scale.  They are suited to domestic spaces and invite the viewer to live comfortably with them at length.  The gigantism of many recent paintings renders them more suitable to public spaces; how to relate to something that pushes the viewer away, maybe even out the door, makes them arrogant companions.
  
During the intervening years I made occasional efforts to learn about Brenda Bullion (1939-1992) to no avail.  Her early death and the undervaluation of drawing and watercolor when Bullion was working were woven into the scrim obscuring her work.
  
Ariel Bullion Eklund, the gallery owner,  is the daughter of Brenda Bullion.

Visit Corners Gallery

Image: Brenda Bullion - untitled, 1973, crayon and watercolor, Steven Barbash Collection, Herbert F. Johnson Museu, Ithaca, NY.

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