Bryan de Roo, Thought Bubble – Crystal Mesh, Oil on canvas, 24×30″




by Gina Borg

Bryan de Roo sits on the floor making drawings for the windows of Gallery Extraña on the occasion of our dual exhibit, Temples of Transition. Brushed bone black chinese ink on scavenged ledger paper. A columnar pad. He makes with quick brushy strokes drawings which are like UFOs, architecture, crabs, robots, insects. I ask him questions while he draws.

G: Do you think that our work has in common a decision making process interested in weight vs. buoyancy, or a spacial, sensory presence? All of your UFOs seem to have landed.

Bryan de Roo, Thought Bubble – Crystal Mesh, Oil on canvas, 22×28″

B: I kind of want to blame Morandi. Well, in Chinese calligraphy, characters are anchored to the wall or floating on the wall, and you can tell if you’ve done it wrong if it wants to fall off of the wall. In drawing, you work until it has a weight that is suspended. In painting, if the colors are dingy the painting is just trying to slide onto the floor.  The color has to shine, it is part of that floating.

G: Why do you want that?

B: There’s something going on, it can’t be just marks. Why does this thing need to exist? There’s so much that’s just throwaway in this world. I don’t want to be involved in that kind of product creation. Inert matter comes to life somehow. Paint is just dirt, colored dirt. How do you throw dirt up in the air and make it stay there? Or how do you make dirt into light?

Gina Borg, Big Pink, Oil on canvas, 40×40″

G: Are you trying to make something indelible?

B: Yes. I’m trying to make something happen. Something perceptible that’s not just paint on canvas. A pregnancy, a fecundity, like this could be so many things.

G: Possibility?

B: Yeah. If it’s indefinable, it’s previously unknown. If you can’t say for sure what it is, there’s something apparently new about it.

G: Do you want the feeling to be indelible? Or the buoyancy of the color to be indelible, or the image?

Gina Borg, White Mountain, Oil on canvas, 28×28″

B: The feeling. The artifact itself. The reason it’s indelible is the feeling caught in it.

G: Are you talking about emotions, or sensations?

B: Sensations. I don’t know about emotions, I’m not interested in the art of evoking emotions. I don’t expect an emotional response from these drawings I’m making. I don’t even know what is or is not an emotion. Is fear an emotion? I feel emotions while painting but I don’t know if they get trapped in the painting.

Bryan de Roo, Thought Bubble – Crystal Mesh, Oil on canvas, 22×28″

G: Emotion is sidetracking us perhaps, but it’s interesting to me because you were so much more influenced by the Ab-Exers than I was. Lots of emotional stuff there. I mean, people always talk about standing in front of Rothko weeping. The talk of those guys was as if spirit, or soul, was trapped in the painting.

B: I’m not sure it’s an emotion, but maybe an action, movement, a little twitch, something that is not inert. That’s what I want, that’s what creates that dizzying quality, that sense that there is something of value contained within the work that is not easily quantified.  Also, a modulation between warm and cool, light and dark, which comes from observing natural light. The best paintings feel like the light of the sun is in them.  Painting seems to need this because we expect paintings to be little windows still.

…When I was teaching, I showed the students Gwen John to talk about that.

G: You showed your students Gwen John? That’s awesome. She’s great.

Gina Borg, Green on Pink, Oil on canvas, 24×24″

B: Yeah, maybe it would not be hip to mention her.

G:  I think we should.

B.  OK, but not her brother.

G: Or her lover.


Temples of Transition: Bryan de Roo & Gina Borg
runs through June 19th at Gallery Extraña.

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2 Responses to BRYAN DE ROO & GINA BORG

  1. Johnson-V says:

    I love the photos ! do you know Piano Briefs the guy who plays in underwear ? 🙂

  2. nicky says:

    I love the photos ! do you know Piano Briefs the guy who plays in underwear ? 🙂

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