Brian Bress, Mountain Man, 2015, high definition single-channel video (color), high definition monitor and player, wall mount, framed, 37.75 x 22.5 x 4 in., 12 min., 30 sec., loop, Courtesy Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
Brian Bress, Organizing The Physical Evidence (Gradients on Gradients), 2018, high definition dual-channel video (color), two high definition monitors and players, wall mounts, framed, 49 x 39.5 x 3.25 in., TRT: 16 min., 36 sec., loop, Courtesy Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
Brian Bress, Little looking (for Josef Albers), 2017, high definition single-channel video (color), high definition monitor and player embedded in collage and flashe on stretched canvas, 48 x 36 x 2.75 in., TRT: 13 min., 00 sec., loop, Courtesy of The Masi Kolb Collection
Brian Bress, Chefs #4 (on green, violet and pink waves), 2016, high definition three-channel video (color), high definition monitors and players, wall mounts, framed, 39.5 x 73.875 x 3.25 in., TRT: 30 min., 35 sec., loop, Courtesy Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
Brain Bress, Chef Louie Mask, 2016, upholstery foam, latex, acrylic paint, plastic beads, pins, glue, gesso, metal clasps, Cabosil, Pros-Aide, 23 x 18 x 19 in., Courtesy Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
Brain Bress, Organizing The Physical Evidence (all white, all black), 2018, high definition dual-channel video (color), two high definition monitors and players, wall mounts, framed, 39.50 x 49 x 3.25 in., TRT: 19 min., 32 sec., loop, Courtesy of Steven and Jerri Nagelberg
Brian Bress: Pictures Become You
"While these pieces have a clear sense of humor, that does not mean they should not be taken seriously. Rather, the ideas of time, impermanence and the playing with formal elements we have long come to accept is quite important. We live in an age full of “stuff,” and Bress’ work plays with how we interact with our world and highlights the impermanence of the objects we often value."—Anderson Turner, "‘Brian Bress’ blurs lines between art and video," Akron Beacon Journal
A curious unblinking camouflaged creature peers out through a shape cut out of a landscape painting; two faceless figures blindly place appendage-like shapes on each other’s heads, while three doughy chefs make synchronized marker drawings on glass, then erase the drawings and start over. Such is the result of Brian Bress’ complex enterprise of character development, costume design and creation, performance and film production. Figures that draw, cut, saw, arrange and pose slowly reveal invented worlds that form, unfurl and disappear again within the window of flat-screen television monitors.
Humor and playfulness are contained within the slow, deliberate movements of Bress’ figures, which feel familiar—a combination of cartoon- and puppet-like beings. They seem approachable, yet they do not interact with the viewer—they are hermetically sealed behind glass in their own repeating 15-30 minute loops. The figures are detached from time and place, existing only on and for the screen. That inaccessibility combined with their appeal creates a tension about who they are and what they are trying to tell us. Describing his work as existing somewhere between painting and video, Bress unites the masks and costumes, which serve as both props and sculptures, through his performance. States the artist, “I enjoy imagining a world where the most unlikely of things come to life.”
Brian Bress: Pictures Become You is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, and The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.