In this series of still life works, Bruns constructs assemblages of still life objects, painting surfaces, and the painting palette. The still life paintings are sandwiched between an above still life object, and a below artist palette used to make the painting. The artist hopes to show the viewer the subject, the painting, and the deconstructed painting (the pallet) all in one piece. These assemblages are constructed in the artist’s studio, but most of the paintings are done in the gallery space in a form of performance art.
Normally, viewers of art typically only see the final product. The means to complete the painting, what the subject matter looks like, the location the painting was conceived, and the lighting conditions the subject was viewed in, are all part of the painter’s world. Observational painters often benefit from the subject matter never being seen by their audience, allowing the viewer to fill in the gaps with their imaginations where the painter didn’t give all of the information. Yet when the subject, location, and lighting are all exhibited alongside the painting, the expectations for the painting changes. The art becomes about the painter’s ability and skill to interpret the subject rather than the actual completed painting. To some, the painting may be better than the original subject. To some, the painting may fall short of the original subject. To some, the object may have more meaning seen through the eyes of a painter. To some, the fascination with the painting process is enough to make the image extraordinary. The fact the viewer can stand in front of the painting and see exactly what the painter saw and can see the color choices and mixtures used may enhance or diminish the final product.
To make the most of the still life “performance”, the pieces are completed in the art space they will permanently live in. The work is first assembled in the studio up to the point where the still life object, painting surface, and artist palette are attached to one another, but the act of painting is done in the space itself. This ensures that the lighting and atmosphere in the painting and the object match the location it was painted in.