Sunday, November 9, 2014

Farrell Brickhouse

Life On Mars

Brickhouse may not have been born with a silver spoon on his pallet; and appropriately his blue collar past contributes to an unfashionably casual vernacular. 
Accordingly these paintings are fashioned the old-fashioned way. They are of no use as eye candy, and I’d guess his brushes are encrusted with a patina of poignant memory.
Brickhouse’s work is all about sensation and persona. Although not exclusively autobiographical, they largely stem from original sources of recalled life experience. Artist’s need strong hands. To this end Brickhouse worked on a fishing boat in his youth, an avocation that still reverberates in his imagery. 

The Sparrows 
oil on cavas. 
22" x 28"

Yet this artist thrives on a sensitivity tuned in to psychic implications. The potential for a mythic narrative is not so much heroic, as bashful. References to imaginary identities have vague correspondencies with the ancient Greeks, but morph into elusively phantasmagorical fictions filtered through an interpretive lens.
Akin to a child’s bedtime fable, utterly non-mechanical fairies dance and prance to some indistinct tune heard only at the onset of sleep.

Cave's Light III 2014 
oil, glitter and silver pigment on canvas. 
30" x 20"

The gelatinous, monochromatic architecture of these interiors become part of a larger continuum. A persistent left to right procession inhabits the semiotics of the artist’s picture plane. We are witnessing only a small portion of a hallucinogenic stage play that extends beyond our visual sightlines. 
I prefer the artist’s wall pieces most when not encumbered by 3D paraphernalia, which I find tends to weigh them down.
Left to their own devices, Brickhouse’s brushy notions acquire a kind of sloppy finesse.
They engage an illusionistic flux that free up his potent symbols, without need for compositional depth or overly textured impasto. The flat paintings are based on patterned, repetitive motifs that resonate with a delicate physicality. 
This reflective approach culminates in “Moving Wood II“. Ostensibly a re-creation of time spent lugging plywood from his house, this painting exudes a goofy splendor. Possibly a fragment from some postmodern ballet, or a Daffy Duck cartoon, it vibrates with figurative intensity. 
Brickhouse’s work inhabits his being, which is his medium as much as paint. This totality of creative momentum, lends credibility to his swervy little world. We should appreciate this private realm gone public, as a rare glimpse into a minds eye.


Moving Wood II 
oil on canvased wood panel. 
36" x 31"


  1. Thanks for such thoughtful and insightful writing about my work.

  2. Very glad to learn about this painter and this wonderful work today. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

  3. wow I am really intrigued by the painted past and feel that his work has a lot of depth to it. Do share more of it!