Works in which subject and field are embedded in one another.
SUBJECT AND FIELD—MERGED
In these works, the relationship between subject and field seem to pass a point of combination to one in which they seem to merge, either by their equal emphasis and mutual fragmentation or by their transparent layering. Consequently, it becomes difficult to distinguish which is which.
SUBJECT AND FIELD—PICTOGRAMS: ALTERNATING SUBJECT AND FIELD
Brice’s magnificent pictograms, among his last major works from the 1990’s to the mid-2000’s, juxtapose combinations of archetypal symbols—evoking masculinity, femininity, erotic love, reproduction, growth, the life force, and death—to create syntactical meaning. These works forcefully declare their topics not through any narrative structure, but through schematic diagrams.
Three notations with Brice’s notes that identify the meanings of some of his motifs.
His pictograms have a jarring yet hypnotic visual power comparable to prehistoric cave paintings in Europe, Africa, and the Americas featuring the elemental pictures of animals, human figures, and plant forms. Such cave “art” does not constitute a visual language, but, as with coded diagrams and written language, it does evince a basic impulse to communicate information, and it is highly likely that at least some such prehistoric imagery had ritual or ceremonial purpose.
Likewise, Brice’s pictograms aspire to communicate with an immediacy—an “electric madness”, as Brice’s good friend Don Lagerberg describes it—that fuses visual and verbal language. These late works consummate the major themes that informed Brice’s art from his early landscapes and rock compositions through his paintings of emotional and erotic love to his preoccupation with male and female figures.
Evolving over approximately twenty years, Brice’s pictograms become increasingly refined as their production approaches the final years of his life. Harbingers begin to emerge in the late 1980’s as arrangements of grouped icons. By the mid to late 1990’s, pictographs become a key strategy and appear as planar, silhouette-like forms that dominate vast color or black and white fields, presented as increasingly flat shapes.
Finally, if one looks closely at Brice’s 2000’s pictograms they seem at times to function similarly to Danish psychologist, Edgar Rubin’s two dimensional, figure–ground organization of face/vase reversing images.
Rubin’s reverse or alternating images.
Thus, in Brice’s late pictograms, subject and field are depicted like pattern ‘stencils’ in two dimensional positive and negative space, which reverses throughout the same work, taking Brice’s interplay between subject and field to the nth degree.