Art, like family, revels in connections

Waterbury Republican, November 21, 2013
by Tracey O'Shaughnessy, Republican American

Scans of the article with photos- page 1, page 2

You suffer for your art. Naya Bricher learned that early. Suffer, yes, Bricher would say, but also strive. Bricher, a recent Smith College graduate whose work, along with that of her parents, Scott Bricher and Mary Terrizzi, is now on view at the Kent Memorial Library, remembers being 2 years old, staying at a motel outside of Los Angeles.

The Kent family was on the West Coast for a friend’s wedding, but Scott Bricher, a freelance illustrator for Mad magazine, had a deadline to meet.

Sure, he had just staggered home from the bachelor's party. And, sure, he was in his tuxedo, and, of course, the wedding was in a few hours. But Bricher sat on the toilet, paint brush in hand, and created his watercolor illustration under the unforgiving light of the single-bulb bathroom. “She, at least, realizes that doing the painting is only one small thing to being an artist," said Bricher, 51, a Columbus, Ohio, native who has lived in Kent for 20 years. Naya “understands that there are deadlines to make and the need to diversify."

Over the years, the Brichers have diversified liberally. In addition to his work for Mad, Bricher, a graduate of the Parsons School of Design, has painted commissioned oil portraits, produced advertising images for a variety of clients, including Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Hasbro, Diageo and Pitney Bowes, Taunton Press and Crew Design. He's also produced videos for PBS.

His wife, whom he met at Parsons, is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and creative director. She works in a wide variety of media, including jewelry design, textiles, sculpture, pottery, stained glass, painting, photography and video/film.

This is the first time the family has exhibited their work together, though merging art and life is hardly new to them. Their home life and creative life have always intersected.

The show of about 77 works, “Are you related?“ celebrates the unanticipated intersections, similarities, and departures within three bodies of work.

While a family so close that its members refer to themselves as a tripod cannot help to create art influenced by each of its members, the work is remarkably different. Terrizzi's work is much more spontaneous, abstract and colorful with a distinctly spiritual element. Scott Bricher's work can be more precise. His realism is alternately tight and suffused with fantastical pattems and dreamy allusions. Works like “Inner Path," ostensibly a portrait of John Glenn, is a straightforward, realistic portrait encircled by a brick-red labyrinth like that found outside Chartres. A series of mechanized looking yellow outlines leads into Glenn's chest, which itself contains blood-red glyphs, symbolizing his heart.

Here, and in other works, Bricher is inspired by the intersection of his own dream world with reality. As in dreams, people or objects are recognizable, if a little bit off. “Overtone," a standard image of the Taj Mahal, is interrupted by a crimson overlay of the child's board game Candy Land. In “Levitation,” an auburn-haired woman in a slip floats toward the red-and-white flaps of a circus tent.

As in many of Bricher’s images, print-like scenes seem stamped on otherwise realistic renderings of common objects. So in “Fabritus Portal," an image of a tubby old television, whose olive green top is supported by a rolling metallic cart, has printed two saffron birds, one in flight, on top.

Bricher says he creates “intuitive connections" in his work that may not be obvious to others. He said the television in “Fabritus Portal,” for instance, was inspired by Carel Fabritius‘ 17th century "The Goldfinch," now on view at the Frick Collection (and on the cover of Donna Tartt's new book of the same name).

“I can‘t explain it," said Bricher, a slender, bespeckled man with dark brown hair down to his waist. “For me, the mystery is letting the connections come together.”

Bricher's television sits just above a similar image of Terrizzi's, “Admiral,” a distressed image of a 12-inch portable television, and Naya Bricher‘s “Sea of Screens,” a black andwhite photograph of a warehouse chock full of old televisions and computer monitors.

Most of Naya Bricher’s work is painted in a loose figurative style, like her images of baked treats, which appear to be in various stages of consumption or decomposition. Together, father and daughter have an uncanny propensity to finish the other‘s sentences in a respectful, animated fashion and talk solicitously about the other‘s work.

"I see a real strength," in Naya‘s art, he said. “She has a really good vision and she can get in there and explore that vision in a very organized way, which I really admire.”

As for Naya, she says of her father, “He‘s a more intuitive artist as opposed to conceptual. It's discovered or uncovered or explored. As an artist, he's very attentive to small details that slowly access and gain momentum until they appear on canvas."

Naya, who graduated from Smith in May, is now working as a studio assistant while considering graduate school.

The exhibit will be on view at the Kent gallery through the end of the year.

Scott Bricher - painting, illustration & design     860-927-1667      26 Stone Fences Lane, South Kent CT, 06785