Anthony Bremer begins to doodle. The pencil unlocks his imagination and he lets it roll. He just goes with it. Ideas appear on the paper and crystalize or expand into broader visions, patterns and structures. You see it in such works as “Home” and “My Lady in the Sun.”
If imagination is king in his work, it co-rules with color – color that is just as inventive as the graphic images. It’s purely experimental. Usually it works, but if it doesn’t, the paper gets tossed.
Bremer says, “I’ve been sketching weird stuff my whole life. Pencil mostly … didn’t consider myself an artist.” They were always black and white. A few years ago, a friend told him he should color it in, so now he draws in pencil and goes back into it with colored inks. He has not had a class on color theory, or any class on art. Growing up with diagnosed “learning disabilities,” he never found academics easy. So, he spent much of his classroom time “drawing monsters, tanks and buildings.” He was, however, a whiz at geography, partly because his father was an agricultural development advisor in places like El Salvador and Botswana, and he attended schools there. He was in northern Virginia for high school.
Bremer came to DC in 2005 and worked in restaurants. In time, his drawing became more serious and centered. He got a job in a framing store and now works in the gift shop at the National Gallery. Being around art is critical. It’s pretty much his whole life.
You can see more of his work on Instagram: @therealab123, and this month at the Hill Center (see At the Galleries).
Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
Always look at a work of art as if you are looking at it for the first time, even if it is not. That’s easy for me when I stand in front of a masterpiece: a Bernini sculpture, a Jan Van Eyck painting or anything by Michelangelo. You know what I mean; there is always a discovery. Always.
But even when I look at an ordinary painting by an “ordinary” artist for the second or third time, I almost always discover that there is nothing ordinary about the work or the artist.
Every artist – painter, sculptor, musician or writer – relies on some level of imagination and asks you to do the same in response. It’s like opening a window through the reinforced walls of tangible “truth.” Some artists go way beyond “real” to elusive uncertainty, blowing even bigger holes through the rigid ramparts of realism, and imagination flows.
Anthony Bremer lets his mind and fingers explore magical thoughts, the extensions of his dreams, and they spill out in pure color rhythms. Ideas take on meanings, some observable and some hidden, but very much a part of the dream.
To discover those meanings, you have to look at the work as if you are looking at it for the first time, even if it is not. There will be discoveries.
In The Galleries
Hill Center Galleries
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
David Amoroso: “Frida y los Machos” – As I have written before, Amoroso paints portraits of Attitude, the fierce determination and steel pride of those who have had to fight for everything they have, be it in Mexico or the United States. He combines motifs that at first seem incongruent, like flower patterns and tough guys. He also includes portraits of Mexican artist and icon Frida Kahlo.
Anthony Bremer: “Rhythm of Color” – With his preferred medium of ink on paper, his recent work “incorporates the unlimited and exhilarating rhythm of color.” Look for the hidden meanings and different perspectives.
Nicole Ida Fossi: “Reveal/Conceal” – Using oil paint and colored pencils on paper, Fossi focuses on juxtaposing bodies to explore connections – how a person changes when other figures are added to the composition, and how body language and color communicate a narrative.
Marily Mojica: “A World in Color” – Color patterns are the central element in Mojica’s portraits and her life. “I surround myself with color and anything with color gets my attention immediately.”
Leslie M. Nolan: “Flip-Side” – Nolan’s acrylic paintings depict what is felt rather than what is seen. He focuses on moods, as interpreted by body language, color and gestural brushwork.
Dilip Sheth: “Figuratively Speaking” – Sheth is featuring, for the first time, “figure-drawing compositions in a series.” It begins with imagined subjects and evolves into live models. Each composition presents a feeling of redundancy “and a tribute to my late dad who was a collector.”
Philip Livingston: “A Natural History of Washington, DC” – Livingston has created a five-panel piece for installation in Lincoln Hall. It is a “visual poem” using symbolic images found near the Hill Center.” The central image of the ash tree on the Hill Center grounds was his starting point, and the other visual symbols grew over time as the installation came together. www.hillcenterdc.org.
901 New York Ave. NW
May 30-July 1
Opening reception: Fri., June 1, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Meet the artist: Sat., June 23, 1-3 p.m.
The “Member Show” takes residence in the main gallery, and longtime member Steve Alderton has a solo show, “Pair-ings,” in Gallery B. Guest artist Michele Frazier exhibits her sculpture in Gallery C, with “Contrasted Element.”
“Pair-ings” focuses on the chemistry between works of art, which, when combined, “can highlight new elements and expand on each other’s narrative. It’s an exploration of art-based synergy.”
“Contrasted Element” is an exploration of the natural beauty of stone, expounding on “female imagery in the context of today’s world.” www.touchstonegallery.com.
Artreach GW Community Gallery at THEARC
1901 Mississippi Ave. SE
June 18-July 13
Opening reception: Friday, June 22, 5-7 p.m.
“Two Years without Shoes” features the works of Mara Wilson, an east-of-the-river resident. This collection of sculpture and mixed media is a visual embodiment of her experiences in South Africa and the shift in her perspective, “culturally, personally and artistically,” as a result of her time there learning what it means to be a South African. [email protected]
A Capitol Hill artist and writer, Jim Magner can be reached at [email protected]