We are thrilled to be presenting work by Bryson Gill, the body of work was largely painted almost 10 years ago. He suggested we call the show "Irradiance Cache”. It’s a term used in 3D rendering that refers to light hitting the surface of an object and storing that information in a cache so that with each re-rendering the computer doesn't have to recalculate the entire scene. The computer just calculates any new information and adds it to the existing cache. It's an efficiency process for visual calculations. He went on to explain that “in loose metaphorical terms it's similar to how I would pre-make a pile of photographed paper compositions and then just pick one to make one of those paintings from that photo”. “Cache” also resonates because we are accessing his cache of paintings to bring together a show that celebrates his influence on Bay Area painting.
Many of these paintings were exhibited at Triple Base Gallery. The gallery was an influential project space run by Dina Pugh and Joyce Grimm. The gallery exhibited artwork, focused on collaborative projects, site-specific works, curatorial experiments, and intellectual engagements with the community at large. They were not a commercial gallery per se but did exhibit and sell works by an impressive roster over the years they were open.
Recently, Andrew Berg Sweeney posted a painting by Bryson Gill to his Instagram account. Andrew is the owner of Small Works which is an incredible framing and custom woodworking company. He also used to be the curator for Tartine (a bakery) in the Mission. I took notice because I had always loved Bryson's painting and quite a few of the artists I work with have brought him up over the years. I hadn’t followed along with his career and didn't really know what he was up to.
It turns out his painting life took a pause because of a serious bout with cancer and then major success in his professional life as a photo stylist. Looking through his current website for his professional work we see the same attention to arrangement and tempo that his paintings show.
Stephen Cummings describes Gill’s painting beautifully; “Far from being old-fashioned, Gill’s approach is fresh and exciting. He's embraced the painted focus of Modernism, allowing his ‘paper’ forming strokes to rise from the linen surface of each painting in unabashed impasto. These marks are as much paint as they are mimics of paper texture, abjuring the smoothness of traditional trompe l’oeil in favor of something not nearly so fussy, yet even more convincing. Meanwhile, the paintings’ ‘cast shadows’ are soft as can be, so thin as to appear stained into the fabric, and masterfully carrying off the illusion of depth. In this way, the artist has achieved the Postmodern joke of literal/representational simultaneity. It’s a trompe l’oeil — but! no, it’s just paint strokes.”
We are in a moment in San Francisco where many businesses have closed due to Covid. The glut of empty commercial real estate mirrors that of 2008. We are potentially on the cusp of an incredibly creative time for young people who might just grab the opportunity to fill spaces with creative innovation. Andrew Berg, Dina Pugh, Joyce Grimm and I were all part of a gritty, can-do version of the art world in San Francisco that capitalized on the ability to be nimble and work with cheap spaces or flexibly within already existing spaces such as Tartine. Bryson's work ties us all together in the memory of a more open time in San Francisco that just might be circling back.
It feels right to show Gill’s work as we are about to embark on a new start in San Francisco. His paintings feel as fresh as ever.