Brandon Long, roof tin assemblage, 32x32 inches (@WAB, Fall 2011)
Georgetown College's, Painting Class, fall 2000
I have followed Brandon Long’s work for over a decade now. He is an artist of principled views of engagement. Even more remarkable, he is temperamentally inclined to follow through on his own terms, too. Neither a validation seeker nor is bothered about any careerist complexes, he just goes about his business.
So in this sense, what to make of the five towering, dingy-clangk, borderline-dangerous “roofing tin assemblages?” The easy answer may be “rustic and farm-boyish,” but you can easily miss the larger picture. Sure, they are held together by the rusty old nails found alongside the very barn-detritus used. Sure, they are also very weighty, beat-up and sharp. Sure, there are no protective bolts, no “Nancy Rubins” tensile cables. If you see wary newcomers to our building slightly lean away from the work’s surface, that’s no surprise. I caught myself at it, too. While the intentions of Long’s work may have appeared quite clear at the quick draw, it has also occurred to me that what I had initially (and narrowly) embraced as a processes of aestheticizing patch-work of rural repairs, was in fact, also steeped in a larger history: as a type of landscapes of protection and/or as a kind of conflicting abstraction of self-preservation. In the walls of the Athenian acropolis today, as a comparison, we can also encounter columnar drums, friezes and metopes of the temples above in the bulwark that is so designed to protect them. The repairs in Athens, as in Long’s sources, are usually made with whatever materials were available and at hand. Long supersedes them only in that it’s done in the name of wall-based painting, accounting for mid-20th sensorium at the precipice of our Blue Grass today: “Inspired by…the collages and assemblages of Kurt Schwitters and Robert Rauschenberg,…I often have to remind myself to not overanalyze any elements of composition, but to let the materials respond to their juxtaposed placement.” (from Long’s wall text, 2011)
Brandon Long, class of 2001, is currently a Programming Director at the CAC Danville. The work is on view through December, 2011.