At first glace, it is color that initially grasps my attention toward this piece. The blocks and swaths of vibrant red, yellow, green, and blue are loud, and hard to ignore. Upon closer inspection, I wonder -- what are these abstracted forms? Is this a landscape with rolling hills in the distance, or is this a still life I am seeing? I question why is it that I always try to force recognizable images onto such abstracted works, needing to find visual references to our world? It is certainly comforting to seek the familiar, however that is not so simple to do here.
Rather than trying to identify the forms, I begin to appreciate these striking colors and painterly lines simply for what they are. I am taken back to my art history classes. Bruce McColl's work is reminiscent of the master fauvists, Henri Matisse, and André Derain. Like Matisse and Derain, color is more important than representation to Bruce. The expressive and spontaneous brushwork draws me in. In the absence of the visually familiar, I begin to rely on other senses. This piece invites its viewer to listen. I can almost hear each line like a note of music. I see the composition’s upbeat rhythm, with a multitude of sounds building up to a crescendo, marked by flourishes of notes high and low, hard and soft throughout. With its wonderful spontaneity, I imagine this to be what jazz looks like. This piece is music to me.
- Jessica Pappathan