Branch by Branch

Carolyn Brunelle

April 30 - June 4, 2016

Branch by Branch

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 30, 2-5 p.m.

In this new body of work, Carolyn Brunelle continues her painterly exploration of the iconography of trees. Fascinated by her subject’s cultural and historical symbolism, Brunelle is also drawn to its formal complexities. Webs of leafless branches reach skyward against scumbled backgrounds, becoming nearly abstract in their tangles of bright color and rhythmic lines.

Themes of growth, aging and willfulness permeate Brunelle’s work. The artist explains:

 “These paintings are tree and branch portraits: trees as shelter, sanctuaries and symbols of antiquity and strength. They are living embodiments of the passage of time: they are slow growers, they endure scars and disease, they become gnarled and creaky, yet they remain solid and steadfast well beyond their youth. Their ability to renew every year, to keep growing despite the changes happening around them points to their immense adaptability and resiliency. Trees live in harmony with their surroundings much longer than humans do, granting them longevity and lifelong beauty.”

Brunelle’s images vary between richly colored, stylized representations and loosely painted, ephemeral abstractions of tree forms. Well-known for her technique of applying multiple layers of acrylic paint to the canvas surface, she then sands and scrapes the paint to reveal layers of pigment, light and texture. “My work is a combination of intent, chance and imagination,” she writes. “It creates a subconscious connection between experimentation and judgement. It is an act of faith.”

Brunelle is a native Minnesotan and currently maintains a studio in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. She has exhibited throughout the state for over twenty-five years and her work is included in numerous private and local corporate collections including Leonard, Street and Dienard, Piper Jaffray, IDS Financial Services, St. Paul Companies, Wells Fargo and Plymouth Congregational Church.

The artist will be present at the opening reception on Saturday, April 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. The exhibition runs concurrently with Ancient Materials – Modern Designs, an exhibition of new paintings by guest artists Dan and Lee Ross in the main gallery.