The first seven of many monikers that come to mind when considering the force of will that is contained in the artwork and mind of the Wimberley, Texas artist, Gil Bruvel.
Operating seamlessly between the new art technology that he designs with and historical practices in which he is well-versed, Gil Bruvel embodies the modern Renaissance man. Bruvels visions are rooted in his training but shine brilliant with his growth as an artistic revolutionary.
Gil Bruvel’s most recent art collections consist of the Bending the Lines series, the Flow series, the Cubist series, his functional art collection, the chess boards and his evocative paintings: all embracing a sense of meditative serenity. Strong but fluid, his artwork speaks to his surrounding environments, his love for the beauty of human form and his sense of geometric experimentation.
This organic conversation not only reflects the otherworldliness of a thinking artist, but grants insight to a thriving communicative collaboration with each piece. His team of assistants, casters, and friends all seem to be integrated with his process while maintaining a singular voice that could only come from Gil Bruvel himself. Adapting with the world around him, his artwork has reached the eyes of many, traveling out into the world, adorning every level of class and institution.
Continually fearless, Bruvel now looks to expand his sculptural series into single editions of a more provocative nature. This is an artist not lost in his own process, but constantly in conversation with the movements and changes in the larger conversation within the contemporary art world.
Gil Bruvel has the advantage of true craftsmanship on his side to birth extraordinary pieces that add a new and unforeseen side of this modern master of mediums. The rise of formal aestheticism as a new avenue for bold contemporary art will be revealed in this new unique body of work from Gil Bruvel.
Gil Bruvel politely declines to describe his work using words ending in ism, not because they categorize, but perhaps because they imply that his work exists within certain boundaries, or that it has somehow completed its evolution.
His artistic journey began as a young boy of great intelligence and promising creative imagination. Growing up in the south of France, Gil was immersed in Europe’s rich cultural atmosphere. Supported and encouraged by his family and teachers as a young artist, Bruvel was free to follow and express his vision. Overflowing with a boundless sense of curiosity, self-discovery, and creative drive, he continues his intellectual and emotional adventure, constantly exploring new creative methods and tools. Meticulously trained in art history, artistic tools, and techniques that span through a period of six centuries, the results are complex, intriguing art works that visually define themselves with far more ability than any isms that might be employed to label his art.
Bruvel’s artistic process is to begin with the observation, gathering, and coalescence of mental, sensory, and emotional images and impressions, from the smallest to the universal, which he thoroughly processes over time before even touching his art-making implements; sketching pencil, brushes, or modeling tools. By then a clear vision has emerged, guiding the artist to what a piece is intended to be. As he translates this vision into material form, he is unencumbered by adherence to any notion of commodity or trend. Consequently, what he creates is always genuine and thought provoking.
As a child he began expressing himself through drawing and painting. Born of French parents in Australia in 1959, Bruvel was raised in southern France. His father’s cabinetmaking shop became a classroom, Gil learning early on about precision and three-dimensional design by carving and creating in wood. As a young teen he was accepted into a respected art restoration workshop, where he received an intensive hands-on education in art techniques and history. He began visiting the United States in the mid-1980s, had his first American solo show—a sell-out—in Laguna Beach, Ca. in 1988, and settled in this country in 1990.
Since then, Bruvel has passionately pursued an organic surge of artistic expression through a range of mediums and forms. Among them: painting, graphite pencil, bronze-casting, functional furniture, mixed media, public sculpture, and works in stainless steel. “I find continual and ever-changing inspiration in the constant observation of the infinite layers within my surroundings,” Bruvel says. “If there is an intention to understand and completely open oneself up to what is being observed, then patterns start to define themselves and intuitively assemble into interesting pieces of artwork.”
Having a deep understanding of art history, it is inevitable that certain artists influenced and inspired Bruvel’s approach. Early on these tended to be the surrealists, including Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico. Later, painters such as Francis Bacon and Robert Matta were among the sparks that fired his imaginative flame. “When I was a young artist it was all about the impulse, instincts, the single-minded vision to create something mostly from feelings and images popping into my mind.”
These days Bruvel is particularly drawn to the originality and sculptural vision of certain architects, among them, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Lebbeus Woods. Still, he moves effortlessly from one medium to the next, with his perception and intuitive ability to retain ephemeral images as they flicker through his sensory, emotional, and intellectual fields. For Gil, the act of creating art is synonymous with the discovery of such images, while seeking to translate ephemeral qualities of human experience into solid form. The sensation of wind across the skin or the exquisitely subtle energy arc that bridges distance, either immeasurably small or overwhelmingly vast; seemingly random patterns that emerge and coalesce.
The beauty of Bruvel’s achievement is that unseen elements of nature are given life in such aesthetically compelling, wonderfully tangible, touchable form that we can sense what his work suggests without need for words. We know, with pleasure, that Gil Bruvel’s personal creative well will not run dry.
The following is text for the Flow series –
As a career, Gil Bruvel passionately follows an ever-changing, organic flow of artistic expression as it moves through a series of mediums and forms. Each one reflects the artist’s aesthetic sensibility and thoughtful perspective at the time, while continuously remaining open to the inner inclinations inherent in a truly creative life. And in each approach—from surrealist-inspired and fantastical imagery to three-dimensional functional and sculptural art to the current Flow series—he has drawn on threads of creative stimulus and artistic mastery that took hold very early on.
With the Flow series, Bruvel continues to celebrate the imaginative and the real, yet here his vision seems to penetrate the veil of material form. These striking, evocative sculptures, comprised of graceful sinuous ribbons of cast stainless steel, reveal an essential underlying fluidity that exists simultaneously within the physical, quantum, and metaphoric realms. Bruvel’s ribbons of energy may flow in parallel streams, yet they convey the subtle and complex human intersections of beauty and pain, inner and outer, the ephemeral and the eternal now.
The following is text for the Bending the Lines series –
Gaining momentum with his Bending the Lines series, Bruvel has increased his creative focus towards the mediums and their relation to universal fluidity within all living things. Lengthy pieces of cut lumber become chopped down into rectangular sticks, varying in size. This raw material is then thoughtfully stacked together, forming a pixelated face poised in reflective contemplation on one side and a detonation of cubic dimension on the other. The dynamic composition is sculpted with precision to its full form, only then to be subjected to simulated erosion. Gil Bruvel assists his medium with flame, burning away the surface of the wood, and brushing the ash off to reveal the natural grooves within. When he is satisfied with the movement within his artwork, Bruvel paints the sculpture with a collection of colors that stimulate the cognitive senses. These meditative forms embody a state of mind that push the boundaries of physical perspective.
Wood. Natural. Simple. Returning to the more traditional mediums of craftsmanship, Gil Bruvel honors this utilitarian material by transforming it into abstract geometric sculptures. Previously focusing on stainless steel, Bruvel’s new works will explore wood as a medium in expressing natural phenomenon. This series provides a space for a new expression and experience by opening up its structural dimensions to dynamic movement and energy through a playful consideration of color. An integral part of this collection is the combination of tones in varying hues alongside a complementary juxtaposition of colors that add to the scenic drama of each piece.
Faithful to the material he works in, Bruvel’s new series holds a primal aesthetic and natural recollection of the innocence in simplicity. Whether entranced in a cloudscape or captivated with the form of a flower, these sublime subjects are felt through a translation of color. Bruvel’s veils of paint reveal a vision of whimsical structures that are thresholds into a realm of magical realism. A brightly colored series of edged structures runs throughout Bruvel’s largely abstract compositions, rows of blocks making up zigzag shapes and geometric patterns add to the depth and quality of the pieces. The colors bleed into one another, much like the surface of a tree, adding to its 3-dimensional composition. Utilizing these components, Gil Bruvel has created many exiting works within this series and continues to explore the new possibilities he can achieve, such as the meditative faces within the next few pages.
Bruvel’s labor demonstrates his reverence for wood, a material that retains its identity of living matter. Its liveliness is represented by the natural phenomenon it embodies, allowing the viewer to experience a raincloud or a flower in a new cubic plane. Bruvel continues to explore complementary colored interaction within the nestled cubes, that form tightly packed structures springing forth in optical play. These wooden sculptures, with cut, hard edges, retain the softness and suppleness of its natural origin. This effect is produced by the choices and blending of colors that create a depiction of movement and light. The tension and intensity created through mixture of certain colors, such as yellow and blue, provide enough friction to create movement. The fluidity of each piece is woven by the use of color theory, bringing a poetic flow to this ordinary material.