The paintings that North Shore artist Brian Brogan creates look more like art you would find in Santa Fe, New Mexico than New England. His large acrylic canvases have a bold palpable presence and an iconography that is both personal and archetypal. His art is inspired by dreams, visions, and indigenous traditions that celebrate humanity’s connection to the natural world. Animals, people, spirit creatures, mystical landscapes, and ritual healings are rendered in a pulsating and vibrant palette. Brogan’s use of color enlivens his paintings with the kind of shamanic energy found in the yarn paintings of the Huichol people of Mexico. The characters and places are a part of Brogan’s developing personal cosmology, and yet there is something universal about them as well. His figures—birds, bees, deer, dogs, rabbits, and human forms (often adorned in indigenous garb or depicted in a transformational state partway between man and beast)—feel ancient and familiar. They call to mind the Yei spirits of the Navajo, and the Kachina spirits of Pueblo cosmology.
It’s no surprise that Brogan’s work is influenced by indigenous traditions from around the world. He spent more than two decades traveling and living in more than twenty countries. While living in the Far East, Brogan developed an interest in eastern philosophy, and studied Qi Gong and Feng Shui, two ancient Chinese practices related to energy and balance. Both of these disciplines continue to inform his art and life. Another influence on Brogan’s development as a visual artist was poetry. “Poetry opened me to Spirit, and Spirit lead me to painting. It was a fluid transition,” he explains.
Painting is a spiritual path for Brogan. His work is shaped by liminal states of consciousness in which he is receptive to ideas and imagery not as accessible in a rational, waking state. “When I paint, it’s all about balance,” Brogan reflects, “I try to hold the tension lightly, like when meditating. I’m here, but I’m also somewhere else.” For Brogan, both the process of painting and the paintings themselves are related to healing. He sees the work as an unfolding story about communal reciprocity between humanity, nature, and spirit.
“Brogan’s paintings invite the viewer to experience the world from the animistic perspective of his painted stories,” comments Belinda Recio, owner of True North Gallery. “People, animals, spirits, and the land are all alive and interconnected. When viewers engage the work,” Recio continues, “they become a part of the story, which opens the door to reconnecting with the more-than-human world.”
All work is for sale. Directions to the gallery are available on True North’s website: www.truenorthgallery.net/directions.html