Collection: "THE ABSURDITY OF IT ALL" by Bryant Portwood

About the Exhibit:

In this series of oil paintings, Bryant Portwood explores the concept of surrealism in suburbia by intertwining figures in unexpected scenarios against the backdrop of the mundane. Recognizable elements of suburban life are combined with deviations to disrupt the anticipated tranquility, and, simply, the dullness of familiar environments. Whether it’s the insertion of UFO’s, housefires, dramatic weather, or other whimsical and offbeat elements, each painting weaves its own narrative in this isolated neighborhood Portwood has created. In these satirical paintings, Portwood addresses real subjects, such as consumerism, suppression of individual creativity, conformity, inflation in the housing market, and the pervasive nature of day-to-day escapism.

"The figures that populate these scenes are largely products of my imagination, and the fluidity of the painting process plays a big role in the technical narrative of how each work is created. Throughout the process, I am constantly changing proportions and perspective, adding and subtracting people and elements from each painting until I end on the resulting image. As part of this exhibition, I have also chosen to include preliminary studies for many of the paintings so that the viewer can see how each image changes over time.

My color palette draws inspiration from the visual bombardment of contemporary media, echoing the hues prevalent in TV, video games, commercial advertisements, and graphic media. The palette evokes a nostalgic sentiment for an era, environment and a series of events that never truly existed, inviting viewers to explore the juxtaposition of familiarity and the uncanny. "

This exhibition seeks to provoke contemplation and dialogue, challenging the viewer’s perceptions of the commonplace and encouraging reflection on societal constructs. Through these paintings, Portwood aims to start a conversation about the contrast between the surreal and the everyday, prompting viewers to confront the unsettling and thought-provoking aspects of living in a world still leaning on the outdated ideology of the American dream.

*The Absurdity Of It All by Bryant Portwood is on view at McColl Center February 1, 2024 through April 21, 2024.

About the Artist:

Bryant Portwood is a contemporary figurative painter living and working out of his hometown of Charlotte, NC. Portwood received his BA in Studio Art with an Art History minor from Centre College and his MFA in Painting with an Anatomy minor from the New York Academy of Art. He has exhibited work along the East coast from Sugarlift Gallery in New York City to the Miami Oriental as part of Miami Art Week. He was awarded Best Local Artist by Charlotte Magazine for their BOB (Best of the Best) awards in 2023, and Portwood has had his work featured in Create Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Blue Review, The Wall Street Journal, Thinking With Paper, and This Quarantine Life: A Comic Anthology.