Charlotte’s Arthur Brouthers is a name known in both local and international circles, from local galleries to the walls of Art Basal. Pouring acrylics and other chemical agents onto the canvas, Brouthers forged an abstract sensibility that garnered widespread attention. Over the past few years, others took notice and started using his honed technique for themselves. He took this as a sign to take a step in a new direction, adapting his process into a new mode of figurative art, in which his abstract paintings become the bottom layer, or skin, of his human subjects, and then are buried in layers of resin and other media to create portraits with new depth. “Combining subjective and objective work has opened pathways to more conceptual art, and it gives the viewer even more to think about,” Brouthers says.
So how does one adapt this style to a public wall? Brouthers, once again, has to get inventive. The artist applies a vinyl print of an original abstract background, and once applied, he handpaints the shadows and other details. His piece in the Boileryard, Gently Rise Above, is done in this manner and “represents our ability to overcome obstacles, fears and hardships with a positive, subtle approach. The shadows depicted beneath many of my figurative subjects represent various forms of ascension, liberation, self-acceptance, meditative and dream states,” the artist says.