Part memory, part dreamscape at exhibit of Donnamaria Bruton’s work

Bill Van Siclen, The Providence Journal, October 10, 2013

Just as some musicians have perfect pitch, some artists are blessed with perfect touch — the ability to render even complex shapes and images with an almost effortless ease. Donnamaria Bruton, a Providence painter and longtime RISD professor who died last year, had that kind of loose, free-flowing talent. Whether she was painting a realistic scene, such as a still life or a landscape, or (more often) working in a more abstract style, she rarely made a bad move.


All of which makes the current exhibit of Bruton’s work at Cade Tompkins Projects a must-see event for local art lovers. A fan of Abstract Expressionist painters such as Cy Twombly and Willem de Kooning, yet with a strong realistic streak, Bruton often mixed recognizable images with more abstract markings and doodles. A good example is “Untitled Landscape IV,” in which a series of small squiggle-filled “islands” appear to float on a shimmering pinkish-gold sea.


The result, like many of Bruton’s works, strikes a Zen-like balance between inner and outer experience — part memory, part dream. (Through Oct. 26.)

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