Eugene Von Bruenchenhein

On Saturday I went to the Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art to catch the last day of the Eugene Von Bruenchenhein exhibit, From the Wand of the Genii. I first discovered Von Bruenchenhein in the book Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds, which was recommended by a colleague.

While his fowl bone sculptures are fascinating, it’s his painting that captures my imagination.¬† The works on exhibit at Intuit were largely comprised of his towers, colorfully patterned fantastical architecture created with corrugated cardboard dipped into paint along the edges. But what really fascinates me are the paintings he did before 1960, in which you can make out some kind of primeval creatures and plant life in the midst of abstract, cosmic chaos. It’s positively Lovecraftian, in the greatest sense of the term.

A few years back I toyed with a novel about an artist who painted strange, almost maddening things. When I first saw a Von Bruenchenhein, I felt like I had seen the kind of painting I visualized my character producing. Seeing these paintings in person inspires me to take on that novel again.

More about Eugene Von Breunchenhein can be found at http://www.vonbruenchenhein.com/, and his works are also found at the Carl Hammer Gallery.

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