Brian Bress: Another Fine Mess

LONDON— “Another Fine Mess”, a series of single- and multi-channel video works and new sculpture by American artist Brian Bress will be on view from May 25 – June 27, 2018 at Josh Lilley. “Another Fine Mess” is Bress’ first solo gallery exhibition with Josh Lilley.

Over the past decade, Bress has developed a distinct body of monitor-based video work that is both empathetic and uncanny. His work addresses the connections between film, photography and painting, and the two-dimensional picture plane where these media meet.

Human-scaled figures face the viewer on portrait-oriented monitors. It is the artist, obscured in costume. These figures draw, cut, arrange, remove, pose and perform. Bress treats the surface of the screen as a skin, a thin thing separating viewer from art. He teases this barrier, marking up the surface then wiping it clean. He slices it and obliterates it with a fine scalpel or an industrial jigsaw, creating compositions with what curls down or is now missing. He freezes it, positioning himself in the space and disintegrating into the background, rendering the surface, suddenly, flat. His space is performative, and cinematic, but also that of painting, drawing and sculpture.

Bress’ panels create a space of peculiar, temporary coexistence for the viewer and artist. The artist’s subjects are familiar, they feel like us and they share our instincts, but the viewer cannot give these subjects life outside of the time that they share. They have no future or past, just a present, thick with small gestures. In the upstairs gallery hang four canvas-stretched frames with their middles cut out and their ribboned guts flopping below, the aftermath of four video shoots — evidence and elegy of the wild way that time and space can work behind Bress’ screens.
Brian Bress (b. 1975, Norfolk, VA) received a BFA in film, animation and video from the the Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions and projects at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MACRO, Rome; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; and the New Museum, New York. From 2015–2016, the museum survey “Brian Bress: Make Your Own Friends” toured from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver and the Orange County Museum of Art. He participated in a group exhibition at Josh Lilley in 2013, and a two-person presentation with the gallery at Frieze New York 2017. Bress lives and works in Los Angeles.

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