From political satire to the delightfully witty, Mark Bryan’s paintings deftly blend realism, caricature and an uncompromising eye for absurdity.
Child of 50s and 60s, Bryan was born and raised in Southern California at the height of the Cold War. According to the artist himself, this climate of fear “contributed to the overall paranoia that shows in my work.”
After briefly studying architecture at California Polytechnic University, Bryan turned to painting, attending Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (MFA 1974). There, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, he flat-shared with two founding members of the Chicano Art Movement, who introduced him to the work of Mexican muralists Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros.
Always “troubled by the state of things,” Bryan explores politics, religion and the human condition with masterly use of humour. Crooked politicians, robots, toys and aliens populate his work, drawing on influences as diverse as Goya, Pieter Bruegel or the American editorial cartoonist, Thomas Nast.
With over 30 solo shows in the USA, exhibitions in Canada, Europe and Japan, and numerous magazine features, Bryan has built a reputation as one of California’s most creative and successful artists. Though best known for satire, he points out that not all his artwork is disturbing; many pieces are inward looking, created to “express my sense of wonder at just being alive.”