Release Date: September 20,2018

Quirky characters star in Brian Bress: Pictures Become You

Character development, costume design, performance and film production intersect in artist Brian Bress’ quirky and mysterious video artworks. Brian Bress: Pictures Become You opens at the Akron Art Museum on Saturday, October 13, in the museum’s Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell gallery, which is dedicated to photographic media. Bress’ characters range from figures with geometrically shaped heads reaching across video screens to place appendage-like shapes onto each other’s faces, to a trio of cartoonish, doughy chefs rendering synchronized marker drawings on glass, and they inhabit invented worlds that are simultaneously familiar and strange.

Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph said, “Recalling various childhood puppets and cartoon characters, Bress’ figures convey a sense of absurdity and self-consciousness that makes them extremely appealing and mesmerizing to watch.”

The slow, deliberate movements and design of Bress’ figures are infused with the artist’s sense of humor and playfulness. The characters seem approachable, but they are sealed behind glass in their own repeating video loops, and they do not interact with the viewer. Instead, they go about their business, detached from time and place, existing only on and for the screen.

Rudolph said, “That inaccessibility combined with the characters’ appeal creates a tension about who they are and what they are trying to tell us.”

In the video Mountain Man, a curious, unblinking creature uses a hand-held electric saw to cut a silhouette of a head out of a mountain landscape scene. Clad in diagonal stripes that are camouflaged with the backdrop, the figure peers through the opening, and then animates the image with a series of movements.

Describing his work as existing somewhere between painting and video, Bress states, “I enjoy imagining a world where the most unlikely of things come to life.”

Pictures Become You will feature several single screen videos alongside two diptych videos, one triptych video and costume props that Bress has created and worn in the videos, which are unique sculptural objects in and of themselves. The exhibition runs through April 14, 2019

Artist Talk
Bress will visit the museum for an artist talk on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 6:30 P.M. He will talk about how he arrived at his unique process of character development, costume creation, performance and film production, and how he developed his curious hybrid painting-videos. The event is free and open to all.

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.

For more information about Brian Bress: Pictures Become You, visit the museum at akronartmuseum.org. Join the conversation on social media with #PicturesBecomeYou and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.