The Darker Side of Brion Nuda Rosch

In his second New York solo exhibition with DCKT Contemporary, Brion Nuda Rosch comes at his subject-matter with some self-reflection and a little more grit.  Offering up a darker vision of himself as an artist, the show has a wonderful honesty that draws its viewers into the intimacy of the studio process.  Guarded with a dark humor, each piece is at once raw and confident, while building up to a larger, important conversation.

I had the chance to talk to Brion about his process, the new show and his darker side. - Alex Ebstein, Baltimore Contributor

Brion Nuda Rosch | Infinity Meat Cut, 2012, found book page on found book page, 10 3/8 x 18” UF, photo courtesy of the artist

Alex Ebstein: For many of your exhibitions, you seem to work serially, riffing on a common theme, color or aesthetic idea. Did you approach this exhibition in the same way?

Brion Nuda Rosch: This exhibit is an accumulation of reconfigured themes. With the figure front and center. The figure as artist, the figure as sculpture, the figure as man as carnivore. I approach each body of work with a conversation amongst the works in mind.  There  is an intention to follow a predefined set of rules and to work with materials in a formalistic manner however this exhibit could potentially de-rail  if the conversation is to be taken literally. One piece saying to the other "hey look at my huge face" the other replying "yeah, look at my dick". While another begins a joke "So a scarecrow and Picasso walk into a bar..." In a sense, I did approach this exhibit with the same formula. The formula being the first line to a joke.

Brion Nuda Rosch | Always Wore A Tie Always Wore A Smile, 2012, found book page on found book page, 11 ½ x 9" UF, photo courtesy of the artist
Brion Nuda Rosch | Cut Cement Blood Rusted Line, 2012, cement, rusted wire, acrylic, 11 x 14 x 4", photo courtesy of the artist

AE: Can you describe your studio practice, and how you work out new ideas, vs how you prepare for an exhibition?

BNR: Materials accumulate and arrangements occur. Works exist in flux allowing for time to contemplate ideas. In one instance an idea leads the material used and vice versus. I have a system that involves working on many works at once and I allow for mistakes to occur. There is a period of time where experimentation takes precedence and then that is followed by a false stage of refinement and process of editing. It is in this process when my continued cast of rules or standards are addressed. It has taken some time to become comfortable in my understanding of my own work to make these considerations. I guess that is why I declare it a stage of false refinement as I am not quite sure when and where these decisions are made as a piece materializes in an organic manner.

Brion Nuda Rosch | Sperm Squid Stuffy the Seal Take the Prize, 2012, found book page on found book page, 9 5/8 x 7 ¼” UF and 6 3/8 x 4 1/8” UF, photo courtesy of the artist

AE: You have an amazing grasp of how to balance humor, elegance and a casualness in all your works. I imagine this adds up to a very serious, laborious, even cautious approach to making each piece. How do your choose your source imagery, and how long do you work with an idea before you come up with works you like?

Brion Nuda Rosch | Sign Post Tomorrow, 2012, found material on found book page, 6 ½ x 4" UF, photo courtesy of the artist

BNR: If casualness comes off in my work it may be a reflection of the above mentioned level of comfort in understanding how I approach making things. It is very easy to over think work. I've found that if I have to contemplate the outcome for the finished state of a work for an uncomfortable period of time than it must be unfinished or worse unsuccessful. Returning to this conundrum in a different state of mind can generally resolve the conflict at hand. On occasion my process is very definitive and at times it is rather chaotic. Even in describing how I work I find contradictions.

Brion Nuda Rosch | Two Masks One Head Make Face, 2012, acrylic, book page, paper, wood, unfired clay, frame, 58 5/8 x 24 x 3 1/2", photo courtesy of the artist
Brion Nuda Rosch | Figure on Stand on Stand, 2012, acrylic, book page, paper, wood, unfired clay, frame, 45 x 9 x 3 1/2", photo courtesy of the artist

AE: Sculpture and objects dominate your two dimensional works, which are in some cases, incorporated again into the 3D pieces as with “Two Masks One Head Make Face” and “Figure on stand on stand.” Are you speaking to the studio self-conflicts of making work as an artist – the implicit pre-packaging of the frame, and buy-ability of objects? I ask because most titles and imagery in this exhibition seems to have a somewhat darker feel, more art as product, and artist as producer, as implied by the “Infinity Meat Cut” and “All With A Fucking Smile Upon My Face.”

Not to mention the landscapes chosen for this body of work are much less pleasing. The red objects over wastelands are very ominous.

BNR: Making anything can be a conflict. On so many levels. I often find myself stuck within the scene from Paul McCarthy's Painter rumbling "De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning De Kooning"

All with a fucking smile on my face I continue on. Everything is abstract and everything is odd. Nothing really makes sense. Nothing. And I intend to be sincere and humble when saying this. Who assigns value and what is success?

When you speak of pre-packaging or buy-ability I can understand the viewer (or more particular the collector, the curator, the dealer) being conflicted with works in this exhibit. For myself these are the self defined hurdles I set to make something that is not resolved for the audience, yet every small detail has been considered. Beauty in the traditional sense is something I am not interested in. For now.

Brion Nuda Rosch | All with a Fucking Smile upon my Face , 2012, found book page on found book page, 12 ½ x 9 ½”, photo courtesy of the artist
Brion Nuda Rosch | Long Form Above Dick , 2012, found material on found book page, 11 ½ x 9 ½”, photo courtesy of the artist


Brion Nuda Rosch is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in San Francisco, CA.  He is represented by Eli Ridgeway in SF and DCKT Contemporary in NYC.  Rosch's work has been exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, as well as numerous gallery exhibitions.  His second solo show with DCKT Contemporary is on view through March 10, 2013. 

Alex Ebstein is a Baltimore based writer, artist, and co-director of Nudashank.


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