Curious matter is delighted to present Falling City an exhibition of 25 of Arthur Bruso’s photographs. The images in this collection have a fleet quality–they seem casual, unstudied, even random. A passing face on the street captured in a blur reveals a mutual awareness between the subject and the photographer, but the reverie of the moment isn’t interrupted. Abandoned properties, textural details of wood-sided buildings weathered, degenerate and ready for bulldozing are regarded with the same placidity. Initially, the individual photographs seem mundane, but that’s deceptive. Collectively it becomes clear that the glancing quality is not arbitrary. They subtly gain momentum and a unique point of view is revealed.
Falling City suggests a narrative but it’s as hazy as some of the passing faces Bruso’s camera captures. The play between stillness and motion, studies in texture and glimpsed scenes generate a rhythm that mimics “looking” as opposed to image making. The artist actively considering his environment is apparent. There’s an immediacy and sketchbook-like quality that’s potent and lively, achieved by trusting the world to reveal itself to a democratic eye.
Bruso utilizes his photographs as an ever-expanding vocabulary. He has an almost encyclopedic collection from which to draw. Since his first camera he never stopped taking pictures. There are images taken during boyhood explorations in the woods, others are experiments from student photo classes, others are more recent. From this visual history he’ll reprint and reconsider, sometimes juxtaposing or repeating images to communicate new ideas. Every photograph he takes becomes part of an on-going investigation and meditation. The images are not about dramatic, decisive moments, but rather an accumulation of observations. They are instances that might otherwise go ignored. Bruso identifies something compelling in the everyday. William Eggleston similarly embraced the mundane, but if Eggleston is comparable to cinematography with his vibrant color and unusual compositions, Bruso is the intimacy of a home movie. One image is captured on the fly while another is carefully composed. Some images are black and white; others have a color palette muted by a combination of age and darkroom intention. The work remains in flux because he is continually reevaluating. “What I thought were failures then, look new and interesting now.” Perhaps the task he has set for us is to decide what greater truth is being revealed, one that doesn’t rely on facts, dates and names, or even the decisive moment but on communicating something even more fundamental, more essential and which only becomes apparent by looking again and again.
ARTHUR BRUSO received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He has exhibited widely including shows at LaMamma, New York, NY; Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ; and Rice Gallery, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany NY. His studio is located in downtown Jersey City.
CURIOUS MATTER is an exhibition venue for contemporary visual art located in downtown Jersey City. Curious Matter exhibitions and publications evidence the pursuit to understand and articulate our individual and collective experience of the world, real or imagined. We examine fantastic notions, confounding ideas and audacious thoughts. Curious Matter strives to foster dialogue among artists at all career stages with a calendar of regular exhibitions. Our commitment extends to our audience as we endeavor to open a door to appreciating contemporary art in an atmosphere that encourages engagement and curiosity. Curious Matter is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.