Mostly a painter, more certainly a sharp observer of history, irony, and politics, Ernest Arthur Bryant tweaks expectations with his paintings and constructions.
He nails his provocative concepts, but then you can’t really pin him down.
Does his work have political goals? “Of course; I am not a politician.” Well, then, what’s his attraction to using styles or imagery from centuries of art history? “All art is innately a comment on what preceded itself.”
As a graduating student, Bryant went on for further self-directed study at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Maine. He’s been featured in the Ogilvy & Mather firm’s annual “February Show” in New York. More recently he went on a self-arranged residency in Cuba, where he looked into “Cuban social culture, social repression and how it affects Cubans, and how forms of repression in Cuba parallel repression in American society.” He also perfected a unique kind of origami, twisting palm leaves into insect sculptures—and met inspiring new collaborators.
His paintings or assemblages might combine a medal-laden uniform jacket, an athletic tee-shirt, and an upside-down portrait right out of some European museum. His commentaries collect Africa, pop culture, serious issues, and failed icons. He doesn’t hesitate to attach odd materials or techniques to each other, like some mad quilter set loose in total freedom.