Virtual Exhibit - The Floating World
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, in lieu of an on-site show, the Venvi Art Gallery will be hosting a virtual exhibit of Bryce Speed’s “The Floating World.” The show will be available to view from 4/3-6/7.
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, in lieu of an on-site show, the Venvi Art Gallery will be hosting a virtual exhibit of Bryce Speed’s “The Floating World.” The show will be available to view from April 3rd to June 7th on the gallery’s website, http://www.venviartgallery.com. Virtual exhibit will be devised to provide the art community with an uplifting experience that can be enjoyed from home during this period of isolation and uncertainty.
The “Floating World,” a series of abstracted landscape is a solo exhibit of acrylic and oil paintings by Tuscaloosa-based artist Bryce Speed. For more than a decade, Speed has frequently shown his work in solo and juried art shows across the South, including in Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Chattanooga, and Raleigh. He has also exhibited in venues in New York and the United Kingdom.
An assistant professor of art and painting at the University of Alabama, Speed finds motivation and a sense of community in his work with college students. To his students, he imparts the crucial lessons he has learned in his own education and studio experience – both technical proficiency and the importance of developing meaning and content in one’s art. Speed’s formal study has been an asset in the development of his style, as his work bears the influence of Asian, early modernist, and color-field painting styles. In the 20 years he has been painting, his work has evolved, moving from figurative to architectural to abstraction.
An experience-oriented artist, Speed works on up to eight paintings at once, deriving inspiration from the painting process itself—of “selecting colors, making marks, and reacting to the moment.” He prefers to work in acrylic and oil, since these mediums are more versatile than others and allow him to “build up the texture” of a painting over several sessions.
According to the artist, his painting blends “images of nature and imagination” – the organic and the visionary. To him, natural imagery is analogous to the simultaneous “stability and instability” of the individual’s identity. The coexistence of “the resilient forms of nature” with the dynamic forces of “water, fire, and wind” suggests to Speed a “metaphor for the evolving self” as a product of both destruction and creation.
In his painting, color itself also becomes subject matter. Aware of its power to “dictate the entire experience of the painting,” Speed takes great care in choosing color in the creative process. He specifically selects those shades that will most effectively represent “the synthetic world and the natural world we simultaneously live in.”
“The Floating World,” which centers specifically on water imagery, continues to explore the “relationship between our selves and nature.” The most accomplished paintings in the series demonstrate Speed’s skillful union of form and content to depict the intersection of stability and chaos, found in nature and the self. The acrylic and ink Gulf Night, for example, emphasizes rich blues and greens. Its natural, organic forms—evocative of hills and waterways—are overlaid with groupings of wispy cream-colored c-curves that imbue a multi-directional, wind-like movement to the fantasy landscape.
Tide, based on a darker color palette, similarly features undulating and sinuous curves juxtaposed with the artificial—perfectly round circles of bright, synthetic blue. White terrestrial outlines at the center of the painting move toward the background, creating for the viewer the impression of a thrilling descent into an underwater cave.