Whenever I go into a gallery, exhibit or anywhere art is exhibited, I crave enlightenment and I am always full of expectation. I seek, I want, I expect to be blown away by something that affects me in a way I never imagined. More often than not, I come away disappointed even at the international venues. When I’m asked to critique the work of another painter, I’m usually hesitant.
The hesitation comes from worrying that I can’t or won’t be able to connect with the work I’m looking at. Not this time, though, and not with Robert Brodesky. I was both drawn to and intrigued by his work from the moment I set eyes on it. At this point, I am a bit hesitant to say that Brodesky somewhat embodies the romantic notion of the tortured artist — more later.
There is a screaming silence in his work, and you hear it loud and clear. Contained therein is the proverbial tension that can only be cut by a knife. In his work are moments frozen in time. A single moment frozen just before “the moment” in present time.
These hugely human emotions are the ectoplasm of the ghosts of his childhood, adolescence and life itself. Brodesky is very intuitive and possesses a very sensitive soul; his life is in every painting.
The painter he is today is the painter he almost didn’t become because he was reluctant, from day one, about being a painter. He dropped out of his first painting class with Steven Gilbert at the Maryland Institute College of Art and then a week later, picked it up again.
Gilbert confronted him and wanted to know why he enrolled, dropped the class, and then re-enrolled again. Brodesky explained and then struck a bargain with Gilbert — when he was ready to talk about his work, he would engage his teacher.
Remember, I said that Brodesky embodied the romantic notion of the tortured artist. The bargain he made with his instructor changed his life, opened a whole new world to him and provided him with tremendous encouragement.
“The experience made me acknowledge a talent that I always thought existed,” Brodesky said. That talent wasn’t just being adept at painting.
Looking intently at Brodesky’s work, you get to know him more and connect him to his work. They’re inseparable. It seems that his uncertainty and insecurity is, odd as it may seem, his strength, with doubt his guardian angel.