Themes & Motifs of Brice Art

Howard F. Fox, William Brice 2010-11 Drawing Exhibition, LA Louver Gallery.

…In the final analysis, William Brice remains a singular practitioner, a unique creative eminence within the galaxy of late modern art, astutely aware of his contemporaries’ endeavors and accomplishments, yet ever following his own intellect and intuition. 

He undertook a personal journey in his art marked by substantial stylistic and formal evolution and marked as well by a wide emotional range—variously somber, sinister, erotic, lyrical, spiritual—revealed through consistently recurring themes and motifs over a period of decades…

Howard N. Fox,
Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art,
Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
Introduction to (William Brice’s Themes, Motifs, and Processes),
WilliamBrice.org

WilliamBrice.org’s Gallery/Themes, Motifs, and Processes presents Brice’s essential themes that illuminate his oeuvre as well as some examples of his motifs from his latter career along. All of these galleries include insightful commentaries.

The Themes and Motifs Gallery titles noted in this blog offer just a small selection of examples of Brice art for each of these galleries on this website.  Please follow links to galleries of interest.

Initially, Brice was intuitively attracted to the themes below.  Then, in his mature period, he became cognizant of each and consciously develop them, often creating ‘conversations’ between selected ones in any given work.

 

TIME: MULTIPLE CONCEPTS OF TIME IN BRICE ART 

 

SUBJECT & FIELD: ANOTHER DUALITY 

 

SEX, FERTILITY, DEATH, AND THE SUPREME EYE

Sex & Eros

Sex & Fertility

Sex & Thanatos (Death)

Sex, Death, and the Supreme Eye

 

NATURE

 

ROCK & STONE

 

WATER

Brice’s 1970 Cycladic voyage heralded the start of his mature period.  He had been deeply moved by the sight of thousands of ancient Greek statues and their fragments strewn over vast island landscapes, still testifying to the origins of Western culture.  These statues and fragments whispered the stories of their makers so long past but still present in their art. These carved stones were odes to the myths of man and gods—the story of the human drama: of love, fertility, inspiration, aspiration, agency, failure, tragedy, and more.  Time, one of Brice’s key themes, was part of this drama, too, as the statues had been worn and rounded by the elements over time.  For Brice, each identifiable fragment (a hand, an arch, a phallus, a ‘Venus’ without arms, etc.) suggested multiple but related meanings simultaneously.  Brice realized that he could create a mosaic of meaning without requiring literal explanations in order to be convincing.  Consequently, his works moved toward pictograms made up of juxtaposed appropriations from statuary, several of which became repeated motifs in his mature works as evidenced below.

 

THE SUPREME EYE

 

HAND

 

RAISED ARMS

 

SPATIAL COMPARTMENTALIZED HEAD