Paint Schoodic

We had another successful painting workshop at the Schoodic Institute in beautiful Acadia National Park. Join us in 2018!

Monday, September 15, 2008

New York Social Realism

A Pool With A View (Cunningham Rd) by Bruce Bundock

32" x 20", Acrylic


Today I’d like to write about an artist who also did the Rye Painters on Location this weekend: Bruce Bundock.

It takes an extraordinary mind to see the beauty of Tyvek, T11 siding and an above-ground pool set serenely in Eden. This is a legitimate extension of the social realism of Millet or Hopper, but we are so blind to working-class, rural New York that we don’t immediately recognize it. (New York has the highest and fastest growing income disparity in the nation*.) What interests me is that Bruce seems genuinely fascinated by these modest houses; there isn’t a shred of sentimentality in his work.

His subtle social commentary wouldn’t work without impeccable technique. I am personally fond of the Bay Area Figurative Movement, and I see intimations of it in Bruce’s work, particularly in the discrete steps used instead of gradation to indicate tonal range. The best of his paintings remind me of old-fashioned commercial lithography, particularly in the wonderful flat greens of the trees. None of this, of course, would work without his superlative drafting.


Botanical by Bruce Bundock
11.5" x 8.25", Acrylic


This weekend, I acquired Bruce’s “Botanical”, above. I presume by the title that Bruce thinks it’s about the flowers, but once more I see a modest but proud house set in Paradise. As I’m sure I’ll see him someday in a major national gallery, I am thrilled to have such an archetypal example of his work.

Rye Beach Pavilion, by Bruce Bundock, September 13, 2008, acrylic


His Rye painting, of an old Spanish-style building at Playland, included that motif, appropriately muted. A painting which might have been postcard-sentimental was elevated by the inclusion of construction equipment in the foreground, which was perfectly integrated into the composition by skillful balancing of form and color.

To see more of Bruce’s paintings, go to http://artid.com/members/bundock

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