Moonlit by Brian Mashburn
The growth of cities, industry, and urban populations has entered a state of perpetual velocity, with untold implications for both natural and social geographies. Consequent states of excess, alienation, degradation, and serenity bleed together in Brian Mashburn’s meticulous oil paintings of gothic beauty. Between grandeur and the grotesque, he presents post-apocalyptic visions of the modern world where nature, culture, and industry engage in an ambivalent endgame. With the delicate touch of 19th century German Romantic painters (like Caspar David Friedrich), Mashburn creates complex, but exquisitely rendered spaces where trees, clouds, spires, and solemn figures negotiate a proliferating maze of telephone poles, smokestacks, and carcasses of the Industrial Age. Painting with what he calls, “the soul of a hopeless romantic and the dark humor of a cynic,” Mashburn channels hallucinatory states of a bleak, yet sublime future.
After spending time in Hong Kong, Thailand, and China, the endless tides of skyscrapers and citizenry left an indelible imprint on the work of Brian Mashburn. As a model of the escalating urban condition, the sheer density of population and infrastructure was sublime as it teetered on the tipping point. Like the seductive draw of an epic disaster, he travels this path towards overload in both subject matter and style. Comparing his methodical brushstrokes to to the monotonous processes of mass production, Mashburn observes, “In the end, they both produce a polluted, drab landscape.” This stubbornness also speaks to the self-destructive tendencies of modern society- where the depletion of resources is protected, and celebrated, as a staple of “freedom.”
Curator of Contemporary Art, SECCA
(Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art)
2 years ago · 30 notes