Although shaped by memory, Bryan LeBoeuf's work springs from his imagination. He then borrows from the visual world to give it authenticity.
Traditional compositions incorporate meticulously painted surfaces and lighting effects informed by European masters. His tightly controlled technique, representational subject matter, and subtly manipulated compositions create a through-the-looking-glass illusion, removing barriers between viewers and the images. He models, positions, and crops his figures to construct the impression of unseen space; viewers must imagine why a figure gazes beyond the edges of the canvas.
Although his technique and subject matter may appear traditional, his art implies modern psychological and social themes. Memories of relationships from his Southern childhood imbue his narrative paintings with familiar motifs. Parents, children, siblings, partners, and other family members engage in unresolved interactions that play out in moody environments. Some scenes elicit tension and fear, while others compel curiosity.
His work contains strong visual references to art history, mythology, and allegory. LeBoeuf's deft manipulation of paint, light, and space demand a reexamination of the power of painting. He is charting his own path by increasing the level of technical difficulty while exploring the fertile ground of storytelling. His impressive mastery of iconography and articulation is matched by the element of mystery he incorporates into his work.
Born in Houma, Louisiana in 1975, LeBoeuf was raised in the Southeast. He earned a BFA at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, in 1998 and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2000. Several of his paintings have been acquired by public collections, including the Forbes Permanent Collection and the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan. His work has appeared in San Francisco, California; New York City; Thibodaux, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; the Beirut Art Fair in Lebanon; and the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He held his first solo museum exhibition in 2008 at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, where one of his paintings is in the permanent collection.
Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.